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  • Writer's pictureShihan Kendall


Updated: Sep 26, 2021

“Remember to celebrate milestones as you prepare for the road ahead.”

-Nelson Mandela


Since 2005, we have, by my best calculation, had about 175 promotion cycles at our Dojo. And every one of them has absolutely been special. But I don't now if I've ever approached one with as much excitement as I'm feeling ahead of the Promotion Ceremonies we're holding for our young students at Woodman Park this Saturday--the first we've had since February of last year.

Of course, hundreds of belts and diplomas have been given out since then, with Sensei Zach criss-crossing the greater Newburyport/Seacoast area during the last week of each month, and Tashi Henry and I recording congratulatory videos for each student rising to their new rank. Like every one has done in every part of their lives these past 14 months, we took care of the essentials--and I am very proud of our team for that.

But what has been missing has been the celebration. Martial arts training demands a lot of students. So do our Dojo instructors. Every pat on the back for good work comes with an exhortation to get even better. Every technique performed flawlessly has a hundred clumsy, flawed attempts behind it. Every belt earned represents hundreds of challenges met and hundreds of small victories won.

Our training is a journey, with peaks and valleys, stumbles and sprints. The most successful and fulfilled martial artists I know keep looking to the horizon with an eagerness to further that journey. But they also take the time -- as we all need to -- to savor the victories ad appreciate the failures that made them possible. These promotions are significant milestones in each of our journeys, and I can't wait to celebrate them, and those that have reached them, with all of you.

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