Grandmaster Rose 04/1999 Spring Address

C&S Self Defense Association

Dear Students and Friends,

In my last letter to you I discussed martial arts ranks and what they represent. I had mentioned that the martial arts was not easy, and that "…the operative word here is martial"; that the art, in fact all of life, was tough. And life is tough. But it is fun as well. Or it can be. I noted that the choice really was ours to make.

I know what many of you thought when you read this: "Sure. That's easy for him to say. He's an 8th degree black belt with 30 years of training!. But what about me!" Well, not to be light about this, but- what about you? Where do you think I learned to think this way? Do you really think it took me 20 years? Good gracious absolutely not! I learned this when I was a Green Belt! Yes, a Green Belt!

Folks, this is not rocket science. All you have to do is understand that it is your life and that you have the power to make the choices. Once you start making those choices, the sooner you realize that you are in control of your destiny and of your happiness.

Now, this is not to say that you are going to make the right choices all the time- I certainly don't pretend to say that I make the right choices all of the time even now. The key is that you are not relying on someone else to lead you through life by the hand. We as martial artists must realize that only we can be responsible for our lives and whether we are ultimately happy or not. No one else can make us happy if we are not first of all happy with ourselves. I hope you understand this. And how can we be happy with ourselves if we aren't in control? I dunno… but an awful lot of people just don't get this. And we can't go through life blaming someone else for our failures either now can we? We need to take responsibility for our own lives and we do this by making our own choices in life.

And, as I said, not all of the choices we make are going to work out to be right. Remember, that Babe Ruth had more strike outs than anyone else besides having more home runs. The point is that he tried more, made more choices to take a chance and swing as hard as he could each time he had the opportunity. Folks, failure is just as important a part of life as success is. If you are afraid to fail, then you are too afraid to succeed either. And the person who does nothing lives a sad, bitter life. Ask yourself this: if the doctor tells you tomorrow that you have 6 months to live what is it that you are going to regret not doing that you are going to try to now cram into your remaining time? I hope you get the point. As a student of mine once taught me (yes, I learn a lot from you!!!), "Live each day as though it will be your last, but plan like you'll live forever."

So what is it that you want and why don't you have it? Tired of your current job. Ok, as a martial artist what are you expected to do? You are expected to quit complaining, get training or experience in what you do want to do, and go get that new job! Feel bad about the condition of your shoes but don't feel you can afford the $100 for a really good pair? How about not going out to dinner a few times, cut back on the video rentals for couple of weeks, and forget about that new set of fog lamps for the truck you really don't need. You see, the new shoes are an asset where all of the other things are liabilities. The new shoes are an investment in the way you look, and thus in the way your potential new employer will view you when you go for your interview for that new job you want! That makes the shoes an asset, something that can make a return for your efforts and expense: a new job! The other things are liabilities because they just cost you money and don't gain you anything except momentary pleasure. Your choice, remember.

Now, what is it that you can do, right now, in your life to achieve that goal that will make your life better as opposed to the "thing" that will just entertain you? What can you start doing right now after you put this newsletter down to begin accomplishing something as a martial artist? Ok. Now stop reading, and go do it!

In our art,
Grandmaster Peter M. Rose

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