“It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird.
It would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg.
We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg.
We must be hatched or go bad.”
I was once again reminded over the weekend just how lucky I am, that in my role as a martial arts instructor I am continually witness to amazing acts of transformation. I get to watch people not just better themselves, but become better selves.
Saturday, twelve members of our dojo went up in front of Grand Master and other senior instructors of the Tokyo Joe’s System and successfully tested for their Black Belts. A list is below. Make a point of congratulating them, and also of reading the remarkable essays that you will find hanging around the dojo starting this week. I spent part of my Sunday afternoon reading those reflections, and was struck by a common thread that ran through all of them.
Each student who received their new rank, looking back on their martial arts journey, remembered times that they were scared, or beset by self-doubt, or exhausted by the demands put on them by their training. Every single martial artist finds themselves at some point forced to smash out of their comfort zone in order to recognize their true potential.
And so it is that people who at one point in their lives were convinced they had no physical coordination become fighters with power and precision. People who would break into a cold sweat at the thought of being the center of attention come to do amazing martial arts forms in front of a rapt audience. People once scared of their own shadow become warriors ready to lay waste to any who would harm them or their families. People who once couldn’t raise their voice above library-level can let loose with a roar that blasts forth from the very bottom of their soul.
These are people in flight, leaving in pieces those egg shells that once warmed and comforted them, but also confined them. Hatching is never easy, but it’s a small price to pay if you want to soar. And our newest Black Belts have really and truly soared.