Sunday, 5 July 2009


There are times that test our courage; the first time you stepped on the mat, your first competition.

There are times that test our character: accepting wins and losses with equal measures of humility and grace.

There are times that take all our courage and character.

the word Samurai, literally means "to serve." For over 500 years, the Samurai served as warrior knights for the nobility.

Over hundreds of years of battle, a code of honor was developed, called Bushido. "Bushi" for warrior, "do" for way. This way of the warrior centered on: courage, benevolence, and wisdom.

The Samurai believed knowledge must be assimilated in the mind and shown in the character – to know and to act are one and the same.

We should try to apply these principles of courage and character to our lives.

It will give you a new certainty and calmness of purpose. Train jiu-jitsu for you – for your love of the sport.

Not for gold medals, not for instructors’s approval - for you.

I know that sometimes you have to dig down deep to find your courage.

Because for an athlete, the very worst thing is to know that you gave it your all, and your all was not enough.

Facing down that fear of injury and fear of failure takes courage. And that kind of courage can take you a long way in life.

But practicing courage in the small moments, in everyday acts and decisions prepares you for the time that you will have to face down your fear.

We don’t normally think of the Samurai being afraid. But there were times when young knights would ride into battle, hearts pounding and knees trembling. And yet, they rode ahead with the brave ones. And as they fought in battle after battle, eventually their minds would settle and they would become strong, praiseworthy knights, not so different from those who were naturally brave.

And so it can be with you. Because courage is in each of you, in the strength of your character.

We are locked into battle together. Sometimes it feels like we are battling each other.

We draw up alliances with loyalties thicker than blood and we nurse old grudges with photographic memories.

But we are locked in battle together fighting apathy, obesity and drug use.

We are locked in battle together fighting for discipline, respect and tradition.

We have all been knocked down. It takes time to heal. But as an instructor told me long ago, there is a difference between pain and injury.

You must never tap out. You must get back up and keep fighting.

It will take courage.

But it is possible. And it is in you.

Have a great weekend.


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