Why Are You Here?

Every day I see wasted potential.

There’s a couple of teens goofing off instead of focusing on their drills.

There’s a few senior belts who just go through the motions.

There’s a kid who doesn’t even want to be here.

Why are you here?

It’s a question I often ask myself.  I see you coming day in and day out, week by week, year by year, but you never grow.  Your attitude never improves.  You constantly struggle on the simplest of tasks.  You don’t set a good example to your junior belts.

Is this you?

Why are you here?

Take a good long look at yourself.  Do you deserve to be where you are?  That belt around your waist is more than a status symbol.  It’s a symbol of your commitment!  Commitment to what, you ask?

  1. Commitment to Yourself – Are you performing at the level that your belt rank signifies you are?  If you are, great!  If not, pick up the pace!  If you’re a black belt and you’re still not performing to your potential, shame on you.  You’ve had years to get with the program.
  2. Commitment to Your Instructor – As you progress, your instructor(s) will provide you more opportunities to prove you are a senior student of the class.  In our class, once you hit red belt you are responsible for bowing in the black belts and getting the necessary equipment for that night’s class.  Once you hit black, you’re expected to be able to lead small groups within classes with competence and confidence.  Are you a black belt but are never asked to lead groups?  I think you can imagine why that’s the case.
  3. Commitment to Your Juniors – Junior belts look up to you…or do they?  Do they have a reason to look up to you?  Are you setting the proper example for them to follow?  If you slack off, they WILL slack off as well.  I see it all the time.  You’re at the front of the class for a reason…you are expected to set the bar for everyone else to follow.

Your junior belts see you.

Your peers see you.

I see you.

Does this all sound harsh?  Probably to some.  But here’s the truth…

I’m doing you a favor.  I’m actually giving you my vote of confidence.  If I’m riding your butt in class, it’s because I know you have untapped potential.  I see it trying to break out with a roar!

Do I push you or do I walk right by when you’re slacking off?  If it’s the latter, then I’ve given up.  I’ve tried leading you to water, but you never drank.  You very well might have potential, but you don’t care to bring it out.  All you want is to shirk through class and wait for your slick new belt.  I don’t have time for that.  Please, let me buy you a black belt out of the Century catalog if that’s all you want.  The needs of the many outweigh the needs of YOU.

I’ll ask you again….

Why are you here?

In the real world, having a black belt means nothing.

  • It won’t land you a job.
  • It won’t get you a promotion.
  • It won’t get you into prestigious college…most of the time.

Aside from some mild curiosity, no one really cares you have a black belt.

  • It’s the discipline you develop on your way to black belt that will land you that job.
  • It’s the perseverance you learn on your way to black belt that will get you that promotion.
  • It’s the self-control that has flourished on your way to black belt that gets you into a prestigious college.

No one really cares about the color of some fabric you tie around your waist.  They care about the traits you possess that make you a better person.

Why are you here?

I’m here to teach…I’m here to learn…

I’m here to grow.

Are you?


9 thoughts on “Why Are You Here?

  1. Yeah you’re right!
    Often in life, it’s not about what you get once you’re successful, but it’s all about the process of getting there!
    The process is want make you evolve to the next level, at a deeper level; the belt itself doesn’t mean much, what important is all the challenges, efforts, commitment, discipline and leadership you went thru in order to get the belt.

    • Many people fall for the trap of getting to your destination and not focusing on the journey. I will admit that I fell for the same trap when I was younger. Now the belt has new meaning to me. The belt tells me how long an individual’s journey has been and what struggles they encountered along the way. I had one belt that was given to me by my old instructor that I passed down to one of my students year later. It is worn and ragged to the point that it should be retired for a new belt….a testament to its journey.

  2. Man, I see in Fight Club the strongest and smartest men who’ve ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see squandering. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need. We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War’s a spiritual war… our Great Depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.

    • Life is what we make of it. If you live a life of squalor, don’t be incredulous to the fact that you won’t make it far in life.
      I’ve cut out cable and only follow a few TV shows on Hulu. My concentrated TV viewing (me actually sitting and doing nothing but watch TV) is only a couple hours per week. The rest of the time I’m doing something productive. Either improving my living conditions, bonding with my wife and kids, or challenging myself physically/mentally.
      I was initially pissed off about the wool that’s been pulled over my eyes, but I have also realized that I allowed it to be that way for so long. Now that the wool is pulled away, I can move forward with my life and make it something I will always be proud of.

      • My oldest Daughter complains how she hates her job and how life is unfair to her! Then I notice that she is just laying around in her room watching TV or messing with her IPHONE instead of bettering herself. I told her that the choices you are making now will lead to the future you are going to live! So keep laying about and sleeping in late and doing nothing all day because time keeps ticking and before you know it it will be too late to change your attitude!

        I got tired of telling her the same thing day in and day out and she still is not hearing me! I guess I do not know what I’m talking about because I see it all around me everyday, so much wasted potential!

        Great post!

  3. I remember a few years back when I was taking Martial Arts. I took it because I enjoy the strict discipline as i believe very strongly that every man needs discipline in his life. With discipline you can move mountains and achieve your goals.

    When I see people just slacking around and not doing what they are supposed to be doing it just irks me to no end! I have juniors who work for me and every day I’m on top of them showing them the ropes and telling them how to succeed in their careers! I tell them that they need to develop discipline and everything else will fall into place!

    Great Post Jacob!

    • Thanks Jose. Like I tell all the others out there who are running & gunning, do what you do and ignore what everyone else is doing. They do not determine what you can achieve, EVER.

  4. Hey Jacob, its has been a long time since I last visited your blog. This post is awesome! Especially now I am training MMA and stuff like that is exactly the fuel I need.

    Could you do a post about preventing injuries when training Martial Arts at a higher level (It would really interest me)!

    Keep it up

    • Hey Rob, great to hear from you! I can definitely do a post about that. I got one dealing with recovery but thats more what to do AFTER you’ve already injured yourself or wake up sore from a brutal workout. Keep an eye out here for an answer to your question soon.

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