On 31st January 2005, two students from my martial arts school took tests to gain important qualifications in the modern martial art of Choikwangdo.
Choikwangdo is a martial art which concentrates on self-defence, health and success in general. It was founded in 1987 by Grandmaster Kwang Jo Choi who lives in Atlanta, Georgia.
Mick was testing for blackbelt and Nicky was testing for second degree blackbelt.
Both had been training for years to reach these goals. They had passed one smaller grading after another until they were near the top of the ladder ready to take a big step to a new level.
They had a deadline every one or two months to aim at when the next minor grading would take place. The reward of passing the grading and the fear of failing it also pushed them on.
The standard martial arts escalator of reaching one belt after another is a powerful and systematic motivator.
Both Mick and Nicky were role models to everyone in the way they achieved their goals.
After Christmas they stepped up their training to the point where they were oblivious of all else except what they needed to know for the big test.
They attended all the available lessons and spent most of those single-mindedly focusing on their test syllabus. One of the top instructors, John, spent hours teaching and helping them both.
Mick and Nicky both showed a quiet but unstoppable determination in the actual test.
At one point Mick hit one of the focus mitts or pads which are used as a target with the weaker part of his hand and dislocated his little finger.
It was sticking out at an angle which made most people gasp in horror. Mick was concentrating so much on achieving his black belt that he did not hesitate for a moment. He rushed over to me, held out his hand and said
'Go for it'.
I was as stunned as anyone else by the dislocation but under the influence of his confidence that I could put things right, grabbed his hand and yanked his little finger away from the rest of his hand for about a quarter of an inch (in the direction it was now pointing) and then relaxed my grip.
Mercifully, his finger popped back into place and he continued with his grading without batting an eyelid. Two of the other blackbelts thoughtfully bandaged his injured finger to another finger so that he would be less likely to damage it again.
Both Mick and Nicky were exhausted by the end of the grading but their determination and desire to achieve their goals carried them through.
Their friends in the class gave them continuous encouragement as well and a standing ovation when they achieved their first and second degree blackbelts.
The first line of the pledge in Choikwangdo is:
"To set positive goals and strive to achieve them."
Both Mick and Nicky achieved their goals by first having a keen desire to reach the prestigious award of a blackbelt and, in Nicky's case, a second degree blackbelt.
They then reached these awards through:
? A clear vision of what they wanted
? Belief that they could achieve their goals
? Monthly and two monthly deadlines in which to achieve the next step on the ladder
? Regular training and grading which built up their momentum and confidence step by step
? Long hours of consistent preparation with others and on their own
? A lazer like focus on what they needed to know and do.
? A ferocious determination to keep going whatever happened.
? The encouragement and support of their friends and instructors
The attitudes and attributes shown by Nicky and Mick can be seen in martial arts classes all over the world.
They can of course be applied to achieving any goal in life and the first line of the Choikwangdo pledge (mentioned above) provides a great mission statement for anyone, whether they are a martial artist or not.
"To set positive goals and strive to achieve them"
John Watson is an award winning teacher and martial arts instructor. He has recently written two books about achieving your goals and dreams. They can both be found on his website http://www.motivationtoday.com along with a daily motivational message.
The title of the first book is "36 Laws To Ignite Your Inner Power And Realize Your Dreams Now!" The book can be found at this URL http://www.motivationtoday.com/36_laws.php
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