In my obsession to improve my Karate, I have been traveling all over the world to find the people featured in the original Ashihara books, who were direct students of Sendai Kancho Hideyuki Ashihara. I have seen many dojos, and I tried to learn something from each one of them.

In some cases I have been seen as “fresh meat” and they try to beat me up, maybe to show their superiority. Although I was never talented, I have trained very hard and I can stand up for myself in a fight. I might not win, however I will always learn!

In other cases, they were very surprised because I traveled so far and spent so many resources (time, money, etc), just to come and learn from them. For this reason I have been treated with respect and offered invaluable lessons. I have been very fortunate to find such people!

Finding them motivated me to keep going forward and most of all create the same atmosphere in my dojo, where the goal is helping and not hurting the weaker person. Of course there are bruises and bumps along the way, but it is all done with a purpose to challenge and improve yourself.

In his book: “Mind over muscle”, Jigoro Kano (the founder of Judo) describes a fundamental principle called JITA KYOEI:

As long as we coexist, each member of society must function in harmony and cooperation with the others. Nothing is more important than living prosperously together. If everyone acts with the spirit of mutual cooperation, each person’s work benefits not only himself, but also others, and attaining this together will bring mutual happiness.”

If more people would apply this principle, not just in a martial arts dojo, but also in their daily life, we would definitely be in a better place.
So, what are you waiting, “be the change you want to see in the world” (Mahatma Ghandi).