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Bowley Kenpo Karate » Personal Stories » Satisfied? Not hardly.

Satisfied? Not hardly.

The other day my Jiu-Jitsu instructor, Mr. Bosquez, was telling me the story of a recent advanced class where he had to “humble” a few of the students. No one had anything hurt except their pride, which is what he was setting out to accomplish. He said those students had shown signs in recent classes of being satisfied with where they were in the Art.

Belt promotions are great, but don't be satisfied with where you're at.

Belt promotions are great, but don't be satisfied with where you're at.

I saw where he was going, but wanted to play devil’s advocate anyway. I asked if it wasn’t acceptable to be proud of what you’ve accomplished so far. He said proud is fine, but satisfied is not. Satisfied shows content, and people have a habit of stop pushing once they’re content. So he wanted to remind them of how much further they have to go. Not necessarily in comparison to him, but in comparison to themselves.

In this, I whole-heartedly agree. Kenpo, Jiu-Jitsu, any other martial art, it doesn’t matter. Once you become satisfied, you become complacent. You stop learning every time out. And there is always someone out there better, hungrier. Maybe your path never crosses the path of that particular someone. Or maybe, you need to be the person who’s hungrier and, with time, better.

You will always have something to work on and improve in your martial arts journey. Every class, sparring session, tournament, seminar, and belt test should highlight what needs improvement. It does require self awareness to recognize it and humility to accept it from others. But it also takes dedication to never be satisfied and content with where you are now. The best martial artists are hungry for the next bit of knowledge and the next level of performance.

I appreciate an instructor who can identify content students and effectively move them back to the hungry mode.  All teachers should recognize and praise the hard work you’ve put in, not dwell at length about deficiencies, and continue to push you to the next level. They’re there to not only to teach you how to get to the next level, but also to not let you rest at the one you’re at for too long.

Sam Bowley
McKinney, TX

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