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  • Shihan Kendall

The Only Question


One important key to success is confidence.

One important key to confidence is preparation.

-Arthur Ashe

For the past two months now, eighteen of our warriors--kids and adults, students of Karate and Kickboxing-- have been deep in the midst of a true rite of passage in our Dojo training. Black Belt Boot Camp (Woo Hoo!) is a ten-week odyssey of physical conditioning, skill honing, vision quest and team building. It requires its participants to identify their weaknesses and turn them into strengths and to face their fears and self doubts and turn them into confidence and self-knowledge.

Yeah, that's a tall order. And not only is it not uncommon for even a high-performing martial artist to feel overwhelmed by the challenge in front of them, it is often the most high-performing Black Belt candidates who start to question their own readiness. It's a strange truism I've become very familiar with over the years, that students who have done amazing things thanks to the high standards they set for themselves sometimes can begin to sabotage themselves with those same high standards.

But this is true, too: we have yet have one of our Dojo warriors do battle with that particular mental opponent and not come out on the winning side. This is thanks to the hours and hours over months and years that they have put in to their training. When our own psyches fail us, that training kicks in and shows us the way. This is the most valuable lesson many people learn in their pursuit of Black Belt, and it's one that serves them for the rest of their lives. When we face life's big challenges, the only question worth asking ourselves is "have I prepared?" When it comes to our Black Belt candidates, the answer is a resounding "Yes."


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