I think of all the times in my life I’ve missed opportunities. Happens to the best of us I’m afraid. Opportunities, like time, are not in limitless supply. The trick is to be prepared before the opportunity ever presents itself. We must be ready so that when the door opens we can walk through without hesitation.
I believe this relates to fighting and self-defense skills but more so to life in general. Without proper preparation the outcome tends to be a “crap shoot”. With proper preparation the outcome tends to be predictably successful. In a sparring match or a real combat situation opportunities present themselves but for only a fraction of a second. Often we don’t get a second chance to take advantage of the opportunity or opening. That’s why we train hard, consistently and develop mental readiness to spring into action.
We should prepare for opportunities like camps and training seminars with the same diligence. We had a great Kobudo camp last month and predictably a great camp will take place, with Kaicho, five months from now. Now is the time to start preparing. Look at what Kaicho has presented these last couple of camps and work on those things for next camp.
This is the time to develop your technical ability, to work on flexibility, strength, body hardening, quickness, coordination and understanding. If we start doing these things today, we will be in a better position to take advantage of next year’s opportunities.
We also must prepare logistically. We should be saving for the camp/training fees, motel, food, transportation and extras like shirts, hats, patches, etc. Camps are not inexpensive and we need to prepare to take full advantage of the opportunity.
We should also take a look at vacation time and make sure we don’t burn all our days before the camp takes place. That’s a big reason folks can’t take advantage of the opportunity. Start thinking ahead about saving days.
I was a bit chagrined that more folks didn’t take advantage of the opportunity, in any of the locations, to train with two of the most respected masters in the world today. I really expected to see more folks ready to learn and be “tweaked” by Kaicho, one of the greatest karateka in the world today. Next October is still a great possibility with proper preparation. I sure hope Kaicho is willing and able to travel for many more years. I know I have a LOT more to learn from him.
This last year’s camp and trip to Okinawa was very interesting to me. On a couple of occasions I realized I was pretty close to correct. On more occasions I learned that I had a LOT more to learn. I saw things that were changed to indicate an evolution in the system. These are always an analytical challenge to me. I want to remain comfortably in status quo but know I must move forward to gain the most benefit from the opportunity.
I hope that you see things similarly and don’t react with “another change, I can’t do that” but react with an open mind and the willingness to evaluate and analyze the changes to find the advantage.
I don’t believe that Kaicho makes changes for the sake of change alone. I think there is always a benefit and sometimes it’s pretty well hidden. That’s where our job as students and teachers begins. Analyze, evaluate and internalize the differences and then share them with your dojo mates and students.
I hope to see many of you at upcoming training opportunities and hope you will work on the preparation well in advance.
I for one don’t want to have to say, “Coulda’, Woulda’, Shoulda’.” I’d much rather say, “I’m glad I prepared well for this opportunity”
Train hard and live well.
– In the way, JWA