The Difference Between Knowing, and Knowing

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I just finished the third week of the black belt test, and it’s only now dawning on me exactly how much of a commitment I’m in for. The conditioning log, checklist, and attendance log looked a lot smaller when they were empty; now that three weeks have been completed, those remaining blank spaces are starting to look awfully daunting.

Logically, I knew what I was in for, but there’s knowledge, and then there’s knowledge.

Enter the SMART Goals

Bruce Lees game face in Enter the Dragon

Beyond The Mat Lesson Two is all about designing achievable goals. If you’ve attended a college class, read a self-improvement book, or heck, paged through a women’s health magazine, you probably know all about S.M.A.R.T. goals. But as G.I. Joe always said, knowing is only half the battle. This week in my journey to black belt, I realize that my goal setting kind of sucks.

The Pursuit of Mastery

Near win

An integral requirement for the first half of the black belt test, there are 111 different techniques, combos and rounds in which candidates must exhibit proficiency. If you perform the technique correctly (and with gusto!), you check that technique off the list — thus, the term “checklisting.” Over the past three years, I’ve watched many friends endure the frustration and panic of failing one or more checks over and over. But is it really a failure, or is it, as TED speaker Sarah Lewis might say, the gift of a near win?

What you really, really want

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Beyond the Mat Lesson One* You have to want it and you have to work hard for it. I’ve spent a lot of time over the past 10 years thinking about desire and intent. As the youngest of three siblings with a go-with-the-flow attitude towards life, I ultimately discovered that I would need significantly more passion to achieve the things that I wanted than I had in most cases. Without that burning desire, you can’t help but wonder — is this something that I really want? A few years ago, I thought I wanted to run a marathon. But even though I successfully completed a…
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Taping Your Feet For Martial Arts

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I’ve got plenty of problems when it comes to martial arts. My thai kicks are lame, I get asthma attacks, and I can’t wear glasses with a sparring helmet on (plus, I don’t have contacts), so for me, sparring’s like that scene from Star Wars with Luke and Obi-Wan. But the most frustrating thing ever is getting cracks in the balls of my feet. Because even when I ace my thai kicks, remember to use my inhaler before class, and am doing drills without a helmet (and therefore, with eyesight!) — damaged skin on the bottoms of my feet hurts like a mofo and makes the mats…
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