In almost every dojo, you will find a set of rules. We call it dojo kun. Regardless of the style you practice, they are pretty similar in that they are meant to be guidelines to live by to be a good person and martial artist. These are the rules that were set forth by our dojo’s founder, Kyoshi Bradley Wells:
Be respectful and courteous.
Always put forth your best effort.
Be patient with yourself and others.
Be sincere and grateful.
Do not lose self control or act in a violent manner.
There is a book by Don Miguel Ruiz called The Four Agreements that I love. The agreements are also a set of guidelines to live by, meant to free us from limitations and unhappiness in our lives. They are as follows:
- Be impeccable with your word.
- Don’t take anything personally.
- Don’t make assumptions.
- Always do your best.
I find it interesting, but not surprising, that these sets of rules or agreements are so similar. The rules are so simple, but definitely not always easy. When I’m having a rough or stressful day, they can seem almost impossible to follow. The one that I come back to time and again to get me back on center is to always do your best. Now, you have to go into this with the understanding that on any given day, your best may different than the day, week or month before. If you are feeling sick, as many of us here in Wisconsin are right now with the flu bug hitting us hard, your best will not be as good as it is when you are feeling well. Still, do your best for today. When work is giving you fits because you feel like your boss has no idea what it takes to do your job well or your co-workers seem to be dumping everything on you, remember that tomorrow is another day and just do your best. When you fall and break your arm, don’t give up! Just do your best. When your carefully planned schedule has been “adjusted” for the 5th time today, don’t freak out. Do the best you can.
These are things that can happen to anyone. If they are affecting your training, you can find other ways to do your best. Here’s how. If you are sick, stay home and rest so you can be strong when you come back and not spread your illness to others. If you are missing an important class, talk to your sensei regarding how you (or your child) can prepare for the next class or make up the missed class. If you are hurt and going to miss many classes, talk to your sensei and see if there are some videos you can watch or reading you can do to help your mind stay current when your body can’t. If you are stressed, use your training time to decompress and focus on something else for a little while. Maybe even go in early with one of your training partners and do some impact therapy with the pads!
It also seems that when I do my best, everything else seems to fall in line. I’m courteous, respectful, patient, sincere, grateful and in control. I think clearly and don’t make assumptions and find that others actions really aren’t about me. Everything falls into place and if it doesn’t, maybe there’s something more I need to learn. If I did my best to pass the test and I didn’t, there’s something more to learn, or I need more practice. Just keep trying to do your best.