As a child, I was afraid of swimming in open water by myself; the vastness frightened me.
I was afraid that the weed that tickled my feet would be the thing that pulled me under.
I was afraid that if I turned away from the endless horizon that the shore that once harbored me would be gone.
I was afraid with no one there beside me I would slowly sink into the abyss, no one to hear my cries for help, no one to help me re-emerge.
For many, the martial arts generate this same fear.
You could spend a lifetime exploring its depths and never fully understand it all. There is SO much to learn; the knowledge is vast. It’s easy to feel insignificant, treading water, struggling to keep your head above water against its swells.
There are many who have changed styles of martial arts because of one reason or another. Perhaps the politics and drama was too much, you outgrew your teacher’s skill, or you just didn’t see its value anymore. In these moments, you must turn away from the shore, the place from which you came—often with uncertainty—and swim towards a new horizon.
In each of our dojos, we have to fight through the metaphorical weeds: an impatient student, an overbearing mother, a self-absorbed instructor. At first, these things can seem like a threat, but the energy lost trying to avoid these weeds can be better spent by simply swimming forwards.
When you enter these open waters you can jump feet first, or you can dive right in.
But, when you do, remember . . .
No matter the distance between you and the shore, it will always be there to harbor you.
No matter the depth of the abyss, there will always be a hand to reach to.
And, no matter the weed that tickles your feet, it will never break the surface.
But once you face this vast ocean on your own and swim further away from your shore, you’ll realize that all those who walk the path also swim the same ocean and reach for the same horizon.
But know now, the rewards that lie on the horizon just beyond your reach and your fear…
Will. Be. Glorious.
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