Warriors are not born and they are not made…

“Warriors are not born and they are not made…Warriors create themselves through trial and error, pain and suffering, and their ability to conquer their own faults.”

I read this quote on a fellow budoka’s Facebook page, I’m not sure who it originated from, but thanks to Jay for posting it.

Reading this quote triggered a line of thinking on my part that I would like to try and share. And please understand that I am not “preaching”. This is more of a reminder for me to pay attention to how I act than it is for you. If I write it down for everyone to see, I had better follow my own advise.

The word “Warrior” in the quote could easily be changed to pretty much anything one aspires to become. So whatever you are working on becoming I think this applies. I think the part of this quote that stands out most to me is “their ability to conquer their own faults”.  We are not good at even acknowledging our faults, much less at conquering them. And the worst part about it is that usually it takes someone else to point out our faults. Many times in my life someone has pointed out something that I could improve on, in life or budo or business (you name it really). Sometimes I am receptive and then work towards correction, but I think more often, I ignore the advise and (in my head) point out just how clueless that person must be. All of this brings to mind “teach-ability”. Just how teachable are you? I am going to use the martial arts for the rest of this little foray into my mind. Having accepted the responsibility of teaching budo (this responsibility should not be taken lightly by the way, but that is a story for another article.) unfortunately it is my job to point out the faults in my students (and conversely be teachable enough to accept the correction of my teachers) and to help them to correct them. What gives me this authority? Realistically the student gives me this authority. If a we are not “teachable” then we can not be taught, and we are waisting everyone’s time.

Another quote that I think needs to be referenced here: “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” I think there is a lot of truth to this statement. I am noticing that as I get older the less I like to take correction, It’s much harder for me to reach that “teachable” attitude. And by “older” I mean both physically and “older” in the sense that I have done something for a long period of time.

So whats the point? The point is: How “teachable” are you? When you enter the dojo (or any place of learning) what is your attitude? Your attitude should be one of humble “teach-ability”. If you enter the dojo with the wrong attitude your waisting yours and your instructor’s time. You may disagree with your instructor, but be very careful about discounting their instruction outright. I remember being taught things in the beginning of my training and at the time thinking, this is a waist of time, or that will never work, in some cases it took years of consistent training before I truly understood what my teacher was try to convey to me. Most of the time my lack of understanding and/or teach-ability was the problem with the technique being shown, not the lack of skill in my teacher. Now does this mean that your teacher is perfect? Of course not. But most likely they have walked the path for a much longer period of time, so the chances are much better that they are correct.

So, control your attitude in all aspects of life, but especially when you walk into your place of learning. Be “Teachable”.

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