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Archive for September, 2011

ART OF SURVIVAL

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

I’m writing this in the car on the way back from a week vacation in the mountains of Oklahoma. This was a much needed break in the middle of some of the most arduous and time consuming courses of medical school. It let me take some time to considered my life, where I’ve come, what I’ve done, and what I have spent my time and energy on. By far the most important things in my life are my faith and my family. The true passion and love of my life is my wife Stacy. Second only to her however, there have been a few things in my life that I would consider true passions. One of them, which you may not know about me, is survivalism; the art of survival. This ties right in with the other two great passions of my life; Kung Fu and Medicine.

It’s interesting how things take place in life, how they are connected and I believe, happen for a reason. I’ve often thought back about how “random chance” and a gift from my wife led me to walk through the door of Tyler Kung Fu & Fitness so many years ago. I really believe at least part of the reason I found Sifu Jones was medical school, even though I didn’t know it at the time. Kung Fu has really changed my life in ways I never imagined, and if I think about it now, in ways I haven’t realized yet. Not only did I lose nearly 65 pounds and get in the best shape of my life, but I learned and developed a skill rare in today’s world. I’ve written about the physical benefits of Kung Fu in other posts, I’ve discussed the camaraderie and brotherhood we develop as a family in Kung Fu; what I want to mention today is the “other” benefits. I would consider one of the greatest (if not the greatest) benefit of Kung Fu to be the mental training I received, and the growth and change that took place over my years of training. In fact I will say it; I think the mental strength we gain from training is the greatest asset not only to martial skill and survival but to life itself.

Ingrained in and inseparable from our physical training is a mental discipline, an actual training of the mind that takes place. Where you learn to push your body, to overcome pain and fatigue; where you learn to endure “combat” with yourself and those who have much higher levels of skill! What you don’t realize is that the ability to survive turns into an ability to succeed. That ability to flourish under such stress begins to “reprogram” your mind, where your default mindset is no longer a question of survival, but a decision to triumph. While this discussion has merit in the discussion of martial skill it has just as much in the discussion of life.  Kung Fu people are different kinds of people than most. We have no use for questions of survival; our ability to survive is not in jeopardy, we will survive and we will succeed. So with that factor out of the equation, we can focus on reaching our goals with a focus and determination most people don’t understand.

When I decided to pursue medical school, I can’t tell you how many people told me to set my sights lower, to accept something less than my dream. “Medical school is too hard to get into” they told me, “Maybe you should consider something less competitive”. “You can’t start this process at your age; you need to start it from high school”. To be fair, I did have to start completely over in college, so I had to start from scratch. It was a long, hard journey for sure, but that isn’t anything new to me, I train under Sifu Jones! Sifu Cheng (California) has a great saying his students used to repeat before each class, it went like this; “Inch by inch, life is a cinch, yard by yard, it is very, very hard”. That is absolutely true! Starting completely from scratch in college, while being married, while working full time was a task nearly as intimidating as fighting a room full of black belts! Wait a minute! I did that at Ja Gow, so I could certainly accomplish this goal! In either task, looking only at the finish line is intimidating, but working hard and doing your best is easy. I never had a doubt that I would get into and succeed in medical school, I only needed to do the work and never quit. I absolutely believe my training in Kung Fu gave me the mental agility, toughness, and absolute resolve to get where I wanted to be in life.

The truth is you can do anything you set your mind to. Anything at all. Don’t let people tell you its too hard; after all Kung Fu literally translates to “Hard Work”! Hard work may hold others back, it may deter some, but it is where we excel, it is where we as Kung Fu practitioners flourish. So whether your goal is to practice Kung Fu, lose some weight, get in shape, learn to do Chi Sau, title at Ja Gow, finish high school, go to college, go to medical school, or become president of the United States, remember that hard work is the vehicle that will get you there and Kung Fu teaches you how to work hard better than anything else!

Inch by inch life is a cinch; Yard by yard it is very, very hard!

Train Hard!