Building a Better Life, from the Inside Out

Isn’t it so easy to look outside ourselves?  I’m talking about focusing on others as a distraction from the inner work we might need to do.  We do it in different ways, from blaming others to giving them all the credit.  We might think too much about what we can get from them, or too much about what we can give to them.  Either way, if we have poured our energy, thoughts and actions into others without looking at and loving ourselves first, we aren’t doing a service to anyone.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave a sermon in 1957 about loving our enemies.  He explained, “This command is an absolute necessity for the survival of our civilization.”  Of course, to love an enemy is to do away with the whole idea of them being an enemy.  It is an obvious path to peace, but so far the world hasn’t mastered it.  Have any of us mastered it in our own lives even?  Certainly not me.  Maybe there was a time I thought I loved everyone, but I’m learning more and more what love really means, and it’s harder than I realized!

It isn’t a feeling, as I thought it was when I first told my husband “I love you,” or when we had that first big fight and I thought, “Never mind, I don’t really love you!”  It isn’t something you can do only abstractly either, like sending good vibes or thinking of someone, though that’s a start.  It’s a deliberate action that takes consistent effort and more bravery than I ever thought I was capable of.  And, as counterintuitive as it seems, I agree with Dr. King when he insisted, “In order to love your enemies, you must begin by analyzing self.”


That’s why I’ve chosen this concept for the first week of wind month.  We use the idea of wind to connect with the value of Awareness.  It’s all about getting above it all like the wind above the trees, to gain a better perspective.  When we can do this about anything, we begin to analyze it with more objectivity, and understand it better.  The more we understand something, the more we can love it.

And, the work begins at home: by objectively analyzing, understanding, and ultimately loving our own selves.

This is the exact work we are doing in the Ambassador’s training this week.  Kids on our Black Belt Track participate in this training 4 times/year to help them learn how to become leaders in the dojo and in life.

Our lesson this time is on Resilience, that ability to bounce back from adversity.  This is possible only when we have a deep, inner confidence that comes from understanding and loving who we are.  And not only that, we can also better understand why others do the things they do, and not let their actions have so much power over what we do in life.  You can see this concept in the chart above, from our ambassador’s training.

In our martial art, we know that it is useless to try to control the outcome of a physical interaction without first controlling your own self.  That’s what we’ll be working on this week through the following techniques:


Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri
Ukemi Forward Break Falls Forward Rolls
Technique 1 Blocks from Kamae Set 1 Strikes from Kamae Set 2
Technique 2 Using Back Angle to Dodge Sui no Kata Positioning and Feeling
Technique 3 Sui no Kata with Partners

Thanks for reading!  I’ll see you in the dojo,

Sensei Nesta

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