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Archive for January, 2012

Never Quit, Never Lose Hope

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

My name is James and this is my story.

After eleven years of marriage my parents got divorced because they both have incurable mental issues. (At that time I was just a baby). I lived with my mom until I was in third grade. She fed me lies about my grandparents and dad. At such a young age I didn’t know what or whom to believe. The lies ceased when my mom and oldest sister went to prison on drug charges.

About two years ago after eating at Spring Creek barbeque, my grandpa’s aorta ruptured. We rushed to the parking lot of Super One foods on Troup highway while I communicated with a 9-1-1 dispatcher. The ambulance met us there and rushed him to the hospital. When we got there the doctors told us that he had a three percent chance of living through the surgery. Heart-broken, we thought we were gonna lose him. Just when we thought all was lost, they told us that he made it through the surgery.

Shortly after, I was overwhelmed with feelings of depression. I felt like my sisters hated me and that I was all alone. I felt as if everyone liked my sisters more than me. I would cuss at my sister which is very unlike me. So in an attempt to flee my depression, I moved in with my mom in Terrell.

After about a month of being in Terrell I got into a wreck which amplified my depression. That’s when my mom started showing me her true colors. One night, we got into a major argument that ended with her cussing me out at 5 am while I’m trying to go to sleep. In the heat of the moment, I said a few words that I shouldn’t have. After that she kicked me out on the street so I moved back to Tyler. Three months later, I enrolled in the Tyler Kung Fu & Fitness Black Sash program, which is the best decision I have ever made.

I have thrived off of kung fu because it has made me realize that everything bad that has happened to me can never sum up to the good that I get from doing it. I’ve become part of the TKFF family, and I feel at home here. Now I feel a responsibility to help others that might be having a hard time, because before kung fu, I was right where they are.

The events that have occurred in my life has built my character and made me a stronger person mentally and emotionally. I have also become a more understanding person. My grandpa taught me to NEVER give up no matter what the odds. When I have kids, I won’t make the same mistake that my parents have made. So always remember NEVER QUIT, AND NEVER LOSE HOPE.


They Don’t Understand

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

With blood streaming from his nose, I watched the student struggle back to his feet.

He stumbled, fighting to remain vertical. Fatigued and cramped muscles had mercilessly seized his legs. His forehead was purple and knotted. Blood seeped from a gash on his left cheek. His clothes were unrecognizable from the spattered mud, blood, and grass stains. He trembled as muscle spasms in his hands forced his fingers to curl. Tears ran from his swollen eyes. Every ounce of his being wanted to fall down and give in to the deafening screams from his body demanding him to stop this brutal nonsense.

But he wouldn’t do it.

He was a warrior. Only unconsciousness or death would stop him.

Unable to speak from dehydration, he nodded and lifted his arms, signaling that he was ready to go another round.

I’ve witnessed this incredible determination from both mine, and from my kung fu brothers’ students in every black level test. As always, I’m the one who walks away changed.

How many times I’ve wanted to quit in so many endeavors, to walk away and just forget it. Life’s too hard.

Your girlfriend breaks-up, you lose a loved-one, go through a divorce, a job termination, a final exam, the two-hundredth rejection letter from a publisher, another denial letter from medical school, a frightening diagnosis. Why go on? It’s easier to quit.

But see, when you’re a warrior it’s different. You can’t quit. The crazy thing is, you’re unable to even explain why. There’s a passion inside of you burning so strong that you simply cannot ignore its heat.

That’s why Rocky will forever live as THE underdog/never-give-up-movie. Through Balboa’s character, Stallone brilliantly portrayed the heart of a warrior. The odds stood against him a million-to-one. For a while, neither Adrian nor Mick his trainer, believed he could defeat the champion Apollo.  Rocky was alone. But he understood that being a warrior often meant standing alone. Standing alone and believing in yourself when everyone around you says you’re crazy, even when LOGIC says you’re crazy. That’s the heart of a warrior.

That’s the heart of my students when their family and friends ask why they choose to do push their body through a grueling six hour test to be beat on, criticized (constructively, of course), assaulted with a deadly weapon, and then have to run five to ten miles while often puking along the way.

Why do soldiers do what they do? Police officers, firefighters, EMT’s, why?

No answer makes sense to the non-warrior. It’s impossible for them to understand. They simply do not have the warrior mindset.

There’s a great scene in the movie Black Hawk Down.

 Returning from battle, an exhausted, famished, and wounded Delta Force commando brushes past medical personnel, grabs a plate of food, and stops in front of a table piled with weapons and ammunition.

While wolfing down his chow, he turns to a Ranger and says, “Whenever I go home, people ask me, ‘Why do you do it, man? Why? Are you some kind of war-junkie?’ I won’t say a thing. Why? They won’t understand. They won’t understand why we do it.”

Anything in your life you want to give up on, walk away from? Wait. Search out your warrior heart. Don’t give up. No, others won’t understand. That’s the beauty of being a warrior. You’re scared yet press on. Don’t give up.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and discipline.

2 Timothy 1:7