Articles

In Search of Excellence

"The Road Less Traveled".

It has often been said, "there is no substitute for excellence". But, where does excellence come from? What drives us to create excellence in some things, and not in others? Is the drive for excellence internal, the result of self motivation? Or, is the drive external, do we only find excellence when someone else is motivating us? The answer to me is simple, excellence always requires both.

This is particularly true as far as karate-do is concerned. If you have been training in a dojo for any length of time you will undoubtedly be aware that trying to push yourself while training alone takes a tremendous amount of desire, drive, and will power. Yet, in spite of our best efforts the results that we get when training alone, seldom approaches what we achieve when training in the dojo when a high level of energy is running through it. 

The simple fact of the matter is that our internal motivation alone is often not enough for us to find excellence. As a result, we need, dare I say crave, external motivation. Someone who will step in and take us to those places that we never thought we were capable of reaching. Fortunately for us when we bring our internal motivation to the dojo that external motivation is already there waiting for us, our sensei. And we know well in advance what our external motivator wants. Nothing less than our best, all of the time. We know the moment "line up" is called we have lost total control over what we do, when we do it, how we do it, and for how long.

For many of us this is the moment that our internal motivation rises and starts kicking in. It creates inside us the desire to be better than we were last class. Better than those around us. Better than we are when we train alone. Excellence though always comes at a price. It demands of us that we leave nothing for tomorrow, but give all that we have, and for as long as it takes. But, if we do give all we can, if we pay the price that is asked of us, if we meet our sensei's expectations, then perhaps fortune will smile on us and for one brief moment, we too may just catch a glimpse of where excellence lives. 

Remember: "All things are the total sum of the effort that went into them".