I share the below with you to encourage you to not give up on your plans and dreams, even when circumstances change your plans and dreams. Adjust, adapt, improvise and overcome.
Read to the end of the article and you will understand.
“When one door closes, another opens. But we often look so regretfully upon the closed door that we don’t see the one that has opened for us.” Helen Keller
For many years of my life, I felt confused by what I could not put my finger upon. Confused because of what I experienced — frustration, disappointment and discouragement.
I believe that my confusion gained clarity and my frustration, disappointment and discouragement took on new meaning. Took on new meaning through training towards becoming a black belt.
Scroll down to the bottom of this article to read about the requirements to qualify enter the 10-month long black belt progress test to then qualify for the 2-day test for the probationary black belt.
My Sensei’s, instructor’s original instructor was Bruce Lee. Bruce Lee founded a martial art style that he called Jeet Kune Do (JKD) in 1967.
The principles Bruce Lee taught my Sensei instructor (Sigung Richard Bustillo) were passed to my Sensei. My Sensei, in turn, shared those lessons with his students.
I was and am very fortunate to have gained wisdom from Bruce Lee
The lessons that I learned from Bruce Lee; through my Sensei, helped me to make sense. Make sense of what I had a hard time making sense of, understanding and accepting for many years of my life.
The Process and Journey… is More Important Than the Destination
The lessons I learned on my journey of mastering the basics helped me to see life in a new way. In a way that I base much of my ongoing martial arts development and my ongoing brain injury recovery process. What I am referring to is the principle of and behind Jeet Kune Do.
Bruce Lee’s philosophy surrounding Jeet Kune Do (JKD) involved fluidity of movement. Discovering what works, what does not work and then creating our own style. Our own style, be it in our martial arts development or in our ongoing brain injury recovery development.
The Art of Jeet Kune Do — Bruce Lee
“I have not invented a “new style,” composite, modified or otherwise that is set within distinct form as apart from “this” method or “that” method. On the contrary, I hope to free my followers from clinging to styles, patterns, or molds.
Remember that Jeet Kune Do is merely a name used, a mirror in which to see “ourselves” . . . Jeet Kune Do is not an organized institution that one can be a member of, you understand or you don’t, and that is that. There is no mystery about my style.
My movements are simple, direct and non-classical. The extraordinary part of it lies in its simplicity. Every movement in Jeet Kune Do is being so of itself. There is nothing artificial about it. I always believe that the easy way is the right way. Jeet Kune Do is simply the direct expression of one’s feelings with the minimum…
With a minimum of movements and energy. The closer to the true way of Kung Fu, the less wastage of expression there is. Finally, a Jeet Kune Do man who says Jeet Kune Do is exclusively Jeet Kune Do is simply not with it.
He is still hung up on his self-closing resistance, in this case anchored down to reactionary pattern, and naturally is still bound by another modified pattern and can move within its limits.
He has not digested the simple fact that truth exists outside all molds; pattern and awareness is never exclusive. Again, let me remind you Jeet Kune Do is just a name used, a boat to get one across, and once across it is to be discarded and not to be carried on one’s back.”
What helped me
What Bruce Lee’s JKD philosophy helped me to recognize is that what had occurred over much of my life prepared me. Prepared me to be effective in what I am doing today.
By drawing from and upon my experiences, circumstances, lessons and opportunities I have been able to discover. Been able to discover what works best for me.
In the process of discovering what works best for me, I have been given the freedom to stop judging myself for what does not work for me.
“All fixed set patterns are incapable of adaptability or pliability. The truth is outside of all fixed patterns.” Bruce Lee
“Research your own experience, absorb what is useful, reject what is useless, and add specifically your own creation.” Bruce Lee
Following Our Own Path and Running our Own Race
The principles that Bruce Lee taught inspires me to celebrate my process and to focus on what is useful. What is useful as I look to creatively express myself in every area of my life. The principle of absorbing what is useful and adding what is specifically my own has encouraged me to follow my own path.
To follow my own path and progress in my own capabilities. In the process, I find my own way. In the process, I know myself, bend with adversity and use economy of motion. Economy of motion in ways that work for me. In the process, I stay open to learn and adapt. In the process, I do not give up on myself.
“Freedom lies in understanding yourself from moment to moment.” Bruce Lee
“Life’s battles don’t always go to the stronger or faster man. But sooner or later to the man who thinks he can win.” Bruce Lee
“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times. Bruce Lee
“Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.” Bruce Lee
Per your information I will include below requirements that we had to accomplish the day of the progress check on November 8 from 9 am – 5 pm. To accomplish and pass to quality to be able to be able to participate in the 10-month long black belt cycle.
The 10-month long Black Belt Cycle Progress Period, to qualify the student to enter the 2-day Probationary Black Belt test.
Engaging in the 10-month long cycle would not guarantee your being able to test for your probationary black belt. The black belt test at the end of the 10-month long cycle testing would last for 2 days. Going through the 2-day black belt test was no guarantee.
Completing the 1o-month Black Belt Progress Cycle only qualified the student to enter the 2-day test to possibly obtain their Probationary Black Belt. Engaging in the 2-day test, at the end of the 10-month long progress test did not guarantee achieving the probationary Black Belt.
I passed the 6 1/2 hour Black Belt Cycle Qualifying Progress Check, But…
I passed the 6 1/2 hour Black Belt Cycle Qualifying Progress Check (see below what was required). After qualifying, I began the 10 month long black belt cycle. Two months into the 10 month long cycle I tore the anterior hood of the lateral meniscus and the medical meniscus of my right knee. As a result I had to drop out of the 10-month long black belt cycle test.
For more information on what I learned through having to withdraw and drop out from the goal of obtaining my black belt. After completing the requirements and passing the Black Belt Cycle Qualifying Progress Check, to then qualify for the 10-month black belt cycle after 8 years of training, click the link:
Although I was unable to complete my dream of becoming a black belt, I continued. Continued with my passion to train in martial art disciplines. I rehabbed my right knee for 9 months and then got back to training on my own. Training in muay Thai kickboxing, western boxing, escrma, kali and wing Chun drills to develop my own Jeet Kune Do. I have continued to train and have done so for the past 14 years.
Black Belt Cycle Qualifying Progress Check — November 8, 2008, Saturday
Two months, before this qualifying progress check test I was discharged from a local hospital. I had been in the hospital for 16 days before discharge because of Orbital Cellulitis.
The Qualifying Progress Check Required
The test began at Freedom Park at 9 am. This is how the test evolved. We had to first run three laps around the park, lake — 2 miles. The next phase of the test was to do 500 jumping jacks and then run 3 more laps around the park lake — 2 more miles. After running the 2 miles, another 500 jumping jacks all within 30 minutes. The next phase involved 4 different stations, to rotate through with 5 minutes at each station.
One station was to do 100 pushups in five minutes, the next station was to do wind sprints, 75 feet over and over again every 30 seconds for 5 minutes. The next station was to do 500 crunches in 5 minutes. The final station involved doing 10 froggy jumps followed by 5 push-ups, over and over again for 5 minutes. The 1st phase of the progress test lasted 1 hr. and 40 minutes.
When we completed this part of the test we drove back to the martial arts school. When we got there, we got dressed in our Gi’s, martial arts gear, and then the 2nd phase of the progress check began. The 2nd phase lasted for 2 hours. During the 2nd phase, we did a tremendous amount of jump roping, demonstrating various types of punches, kicks combinations, Kata’s (forms) and grappling skills. Grappling skills such as, chokes, armbars, and other skills.
We then did focus mitt drills, with a teammate, jabs and crosses for 10 minutes each, with a teammate doing punches (jabs and crosses) at various speeds and degrees of power in our punches. Following the jab and cross drills on the focus mitts, we switched to doing alternating hook punches on the focus pads. Each teammate, doing these punches at various speeds and degrees of power in our punches. We then had to do 250 hard round kicks on a heavy bag.
Once we were done with this gauntlet of physical activity Sensei dismissed us for our lunch break which lasted from 1-2:30 pm. After speaking with a marathoner at a local running shoe company on Friday concerning what would be good to have for lunch the day of the test, I brought a few protein bars. A MOJO bar and a Cliff Bar Friday afternoon at Wat-Mart. I had these 2 bars with 2 Propel vitamin drinks.
At 2:30 we began the 3rd phase of the project test. The 3rd phase consisted of 80 minutes of grappling, each lasting for 3-minute rounds. With the end of the 3-minute round, we grappled with another student. In total we grappled with about 15 or so different students and instructors. Right after grappling ended Sensei had us pad-up to begin the next activity. Put protective pads on to start free sparring.
Free sparring lasted for 60 minutes with 3–minute rounds. 3-minute rounds with about 15 different students and instructors. At the end of sparring Sensei gave us our last assignment to be done with a 3-man team. The assignment consisted of 2 rounds. Each round consisted of each member doing 100 gut busters with the second team member pushing the legs of the first team member to the ground and counting
to 100. The 3rd team member held a left leg side kick out above the ground until the person doing gut busters completed their 100 gut busters. Once each person had done their 1st 100 gut busters, we repeated the process with the 3rd member of the team holding their right leg side kick above the ground. The team rotated through once and then repeated the cycle as the one team member held their right leg side kick out until the 1st team member completed their second set of 100 gut busters. When our team completed the 2nd rotation of gut busters our test was over. We ended a little after 5 pm.
We waited for 3 weeks to find out whether we passed the Black Belt Cycle Progress Check. After meeting with Sensei, I was told that I passed and would be granted permission to begin the 10-month long Black Belt Cycle. I was thrilled to find out that I had passed the test.