The Art of Winning Blog

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

World Politics and To-Shin Do

I've been contemplating the state of the world and how my experience on the mat and with the teaching is so often reflective and reflected. Today, I was thinking about the corruptability of systems and how hosed our economic and justice systems appear to me. It's hard to think about something so big, so I thought about our TSD testing procedure. First let me say I really admire our testing system and today I finally realized why.

First assumption: all quantifiable systems are corruptable. That's why we maintain both qualitative and quantative measures for advancement. If a system is fully quantifiable, you can game the system. Take standardized testing for example. When I took he SAT practice course, it wasn't teaching me the material on the test. It told me how to deduce the answer, even when I had no clue. Don't know the word or any synonyms/antonyms? No worries, just look for a suffix or prefix that's ou do know. Truthfully, it was a. Better life skill than algebra and worked well for me, but it certainly skews the SAT to people who can afford the practice classes so they can properly game the system. It's why it's so hard to tell you what you need to DO to pass your next test, whether for a belt or kihon ranking. I'm more interested in who you are becoming and how that is reflected in what you do. 

Second assumption: systems are important. That may seem odd since they are corruptable but if we didn't have systems, we'd create them. Imagine a society where no one had a name. Would you create a label for them anyway? Of course. So if we try to pretend there are no rules, then we are denying reality. Personally, denying reality is one of my fears and I strive every day to be more clear than the day before. 

So the truth is, there are standards you need to meet for each rank. And you need to change and grow as a human being and that's absolutely subjective. When I look at he world around me, it's hard to believe that To-Shin Do exists. It's a study in emotional intelligence (founded decades before that became a buzz word), in Praise coaching, in the reality of inter and intra personal conflict. It's frankly brilliant. It makes me wonder, what else are we doing right now, how are we changing in this very instant, that in 10 years will finally be mainstream cutting edge? (I do recognize the oxymoron). I'm so grateful to be part of a living art. 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Hannya Shingyo

Most Sunday mornings, I'm either dancing or skiing. Both activities are a way for me to rest and rejuvenate and connect even more with my martial path. My martial path has long been a spiritual path as well. It is my laboratory, my sacred space, and my path. 



Today I danced. It was the instructor's birthday and I was looking forward to dancing the sacred as every class with her begins and ends with intention--much like we start with our codes too. I danced my heart out and it was wonderful. As we came into our centers and our space, the words "Hannya Shingyo" followed by "gyatei gyatei para gyatei...Hannya Shingyo" flowed through my mind. I love these moments when mantra present themselves to me, as if the universe is whispering or maybe I'm just so quiet, I can hear my mind. It is at once comforting and intriguing. 

A part of me wanted to quickly dissect the meaning, to know in my brain why I was hearing these words now, but I knew from experience that chasing the words wouldn't get me there, not in that state of mind. So I held the words and the space and I allowed time and myself to simply be. And words from another teaching, this time in English, sang the meaning for me: "this moment, in this space, is the brith of my opportunity to create the reality I experience". 

Every time we step on the mat, every time we release ourselves to the practice, we have the opportunity to get a little brighter, a little bigger, for our song to come into tune. We are so lucky to have this choice. I look forward to training with you this week. Let us all discover more about our path to peace, mindfulness, and release. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Getting from Now to There

As I shared last week, I have a strong vision of where I want to go. I want to build places where people can discover and express their true and highest selves. I want to help them carry their own lights so the world is a brighter place. I want them to be inspired by excellence. 

I am also aware of where I am right now. We are absolutely teaching the best martial art to achieve my goals. I have excellent staff supporting the vision and fantastic students who ask of greatness of themselves. I also have 125 of them and my vision is for 250+. 

Today I felt myself feeling stuck and frustrated. I wasn't sure how to move from the reality of Now to the vision I have for the There in the future. I had some ideas about the next step, but I wasn't sure what would come after that. I wanted to see every step that would lead me to There. 

Then I realized that my next step wasn't to plan every move. My next step was to go to the next milestone. If I know what to do next, then it's time to do it. I can worry about the next step once I get to that milestone. 

Our Code of Mindful Action held the answer all along "I avoid putting off doing that which will benefit me and my world today". What can you do today to help you reach your goals?

Sunday, January 12, 2014

A Warrior Is...

As part of our commitment to growing the dojo in 2014, the staff has been meeting and brainstorming. We've been talking about new seminars, private lesson packages, and additional areas of business. When talking about growth, personal or professional, it can be easy to lose sight of we intend to be. It's one of the reasons having our creeds is so important to our practice. We need to stay grounded in our values so that we direct our growth in a positive and fruitful manner. 

As a business we have a vision and a mission as well. These are more than words to complete a
business plan. These are grounding principles that give us a criteria for evaluating business decisions. We won't implement a new class, membership structure, seminar or activity unless it is in line with our mission and vision. I hope these words inspire you as much as they do for me. 

Vision
The Boulder Quest Center wakes you up to the potential of what is possible--
confidently and consistently helping you transcend cherished limitations to discover your own personal excellence. 

Mission
To create and retain Toshi (3rd degree and higher)

9 Attributes of a Warrior
For this, we need your help. You may have noticed the giant post-it's on the dressing room doors. These post-it's ask you to complete the phrase "a warrior is..."  Please help us by providing your insights into your experience of what it means to be a warrior. We will use these lists to distill a list of 9 attributes that describe warriors as a way of defining and describing our BQC culture and values. 

Be ninja!
Mary Aitoshi





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1501 Lee Hill Road #18|Boulder, Colorado 80304|Phone: 303.440.3647|Email: ninja@boulderquest.com