by Dr. Monroe Mann, PhD (and GMAU student)
Bruce Lee famously said, “I don’t fear the man who knows 10,000 kicks. I fear the man who practices one kick 10,000 times.”
What then is the key to practicing that one kick 10,000 times? Persistence, right? So, what’s the key to that persistence? For that you need enthusiasm. But where does enthusiasm come from? You must keep reminding yourself daily of your ‘why’ for mastering that kick — that is, what keeps you going. Okay, so it’s about the why. How then can you be regularly reminded of your ‘why’? The answer to that is through regular and repeated support and encouragement. Lots of support. And lots of encouragement. From as many people as you can find.
The Way to Achieve Something Extraordinary
Doing anything extraordinary, including earning a black belt in a martial art, is hard work. No matter who you are, at some point you’ll consider slowing down, forget to practice, or even quit. Again, the only way to avoid this is to get lots of support and encouragement that reminds you of your why, which gives you enthusiasm, which then leads to persistence, which leads to success. It all starts with a non-negotiable feeling of ‘I can do this!’
As a GMAU student myself, I know that the GMAU community is filled with supportive and encouraging instructors, staff, and students. I also know from my PhD studies in psychology, however, that it’s not enough to simply get support from your mentors and peers within the same area. Getting support from others outside that area has an equally positive reinforcing effect that can contribute greatly to your success. In other words, you also need support from those who aren’t involved in martial arts. But where do you find such people?
Before I answer that question, it’s also important to be aware of the known phenomenon that results when you make efforts to help others with their problems, hang-ups, and setbacks (whether related to your area or not). This helps free you from thinking consciously about your problems, and it often leads to discovering the perfect solution to a problem that vexed you without having to think about it. All of this happens subconsciously on the path to success.
The Path to Success has Three Parts
First, it’s important to share your martial-art goals and ambitions not only with other GMAU students and staff but also with those who know little about martial arts. The latter group will give you a different perspective than the former.
Next, by making an effort to help others achieve their own dreams and help them overcome their own unique difficulties, you’re more able to allow your subconscious to do its magic to help you overcome your own roadblocks.
Lastly, you need a wide support network that can help you remember your ‘why’ on a regular basis. Accountability leads to accomplishment.
The Break Diving Community
So, where can you find kind and supportive people outside the GMAU to help you on your journey to black belt? The answer is at a place called Break Diving.
About 2 years ago, I created a not-for-profit social-media site with just one mission — to help its members improve their happiness, success, and friendships worldwide. We’re called Break Diving, and we call ourselves “break divers.” Break divers don’t wait for opportunities to float to the surface; instead, we dive into the cold and icy shark-infested waters of resistance to find and make our own breaks.™ Essentially, we’re a community of winners, and we live by the Break Diver’s Creed: No Rules. No Excuses. No Regrets.™
We all root each other on with our goals such as improving our English, overcoming depression, practicing Chinese, learning to fly a wingsuit, passing the Project Management Professional exam, and yes … becoming a black belt in a martial art. We even have our own ‘belt system’ whereby you can get certified in ‘dives’ in Krav Maga Level 1, Karate Level 4, and Kung Fu Level Elite. And there are over 900 other dives unrelated to martial arts like coding, travel, languages, and cooking.
Basically, if you can show us that you meet the requirements for a dive such as a certificate from the GMAU and a video demonstration, we then certify you as such. All your achievements show up on your personal-life-accomplishment page. And when you’re fully certified you can become an official mentor in our community to help others at levels below you who may want to pursue martial arts but don’t know where or how to start. By helping others your own troubles start to seem a lot more manageable and you accomplish your own dreams more quickly.
I must warn you that our community is not for everyone. We have a rigorous application process to ensure no one gets in who will ‘poison’ the positive and supportive vibes. But for those for whom the concept clicks, Break Diving has changed their lives. Every day we share our accomplishments, discuss our difficulties, pursue our dreams, and remind one another of our ‘whys’ for going after them.
How to Become a Break Diver
By letting me contribute this article to the GMAU blog, Sensei Michael has kindly given me this opportunity to invite you to join us — to become a break diver yourself. If this concept intrigues you, come and participate in our social-media experiment. It’s free to join, and you’ll find that everyone on the site is friendly.
You’ll gain perspective from people all around the world and in all walks of life. Everyone’s mission is to help you improve your life and achieve your goals. We want to help you grow your self esteem, create a clearer life plan, and reach your wildest dreams. We’ll help ensure that the dream you started at the GMAU gets finished.
Break Diving will help you stay on the path to earning black belts in all facets of your life.
See you soon … I’ll be watching out for your knockout Bruce-Lee inspired kick!