Inspiration, just like its cousin motivation, is often a unique and personal thing.
There are many martial art expressions/sayings out there that can be learned from, embraced and function as inspiration in times of need. Here are a few of my favorites. Many are without credit as they’re just old… like the arts themselves.
“Fall 7 times, get up 8”
“Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do.” -Bruce Lee
“Cry in the dojo, laugh on the battlefield”
“If practice is bloodless war, then war is just bloody practice”
“How long does it take the average person to reach black belt? The average person does not earn a black belt”
“The martial arts is the path of highest resistance and as such the greatest reward”
“A black belt is just a highly qualified beginner”
“A Black Belt is a White Belt that never quit”
“Do your job” – Bill Belichick
Oh wait, that last one isn’t strictly martial arts… however it is the greatest coach of all time and it absolutely rings true. From time to time we humans like to over complicate things…. well let’s be honest. I think most of the time we over complicate stuff. However if we could just remember to prioritize and “do our job” (whatever it is at that moment in time) then life would become exponentially easier.
So sports as a source of Inspiration…. let’s go down that path a bit…
Sports permeates our culture in America. However when I was a kid, I was far more likely to be reading something written by Dean Koontz, Stephen King or Marvel Comics than watching sports. In my defense, most of my definitive early sports memories were painful to horrible… William “The Refrigerator” Perry scoring an F.U. touchdown against the Pats in the Superbowl or a little dribbler of a hit rolling through the legs of Bill Buckner are prime examples.
That’s not to say that there weren’t bright spots as well. Doug Flutie’s Hail Mary just celebrated its 33rd anniversary… and I mostly grew up in Natick and went to BC so that was a biggie. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3ykWbu2Gl0)
But that brings up to the first big number to derive inspiration from…. 33. In Boston, the #33 can only ever mean one thing… or in this case, one person. Larry “Legend” Bird.
I wasn’t a sports kid…. but Larry Bird was different. Larry was a tall, kinda goofy looking guy. Frequently called “the Hick from French Lick”, “innately gifted athlete” was not what jumped to mind when his name was mentioned. Crazy strong work ethic however… the willingness to do what the team needed to win… just an incredible “motor”, competitive drive and readiness to sacrifice himself to the greater cause. That was something I could identify with as an uncoordinated (gangly would be a better word) youth.
So fast forward to today… kids today aren’t inspired by the sports hero of yesteryear. Today we hear all too frequently of the miscreants in the sporting world. Sports “heroes” are brought up on charges more often than they win awards. So where can we look when we’re trying to tell kids about the importance of work ethic, sacrifice, and putting the team above the individual?
Well, how about the number 199? In the year 2000, a tall, skinny, and awkward looking kid was chosen number 199 in the NFL draft. Today, that kid is better known by the number 12, TFB or the GOAT. Yup… Tom Brady. His draft report closed this way “Summary: Is not what you’re looking for in terms of physical stature, strength, arm strength and mobility, but he has the intangibles and production and showed great Griese-like improvement as a senior. Could make it in the right system but will not be for everyone.”
I don’t think at this point I need to stop and spend time talking about what Tom F-ing Brady has accomplished. GOAT stands for greatest of all time… and he’s earned every bit of that title. What is easy to forget all these years later is how he entered the realm of professional sports. Dead last in the 6th round, and completely discounted as having any real potential. Passed over by everyone and taken by the Patriots on a compensatory pick. Today, 5 Superbowl rings later, his work ethic is the most legendary component of the man. He’s now 40… owns most of the important records for quarterback and all of the major ones in the sport overall. So he’s taking a victory lap, right? Nope.
Read this: http://patriotswire.usatoday.com/2017/08/18/rob-gronkowski-reveals-legendary-story-about-tom-bradys-work-ethic/
He’s spending extra time in a meeting for a part of the team he’s never played on and never will. THAT’S inspiring. To have worked from the back of the pack, made your way to being the consensus “greatest ever” and CONTINUE to push yourself and everyone else around you to do more. How many parents would like their sons and daughters to apply themselves in a similar manner? Hell, how many adults do you know that can maintain that level of mental focus? For me, Larry Legend was that inspiration…
However for kids today, I hope they see the scrawny kid that Tom Brady was and understand the WORK put in to become the superstar he is today. If they are a Patriots fan, or just a TB12 fan, Mom and Dad you’ve got one more tool to use to teach them about the value of “sweat equity”.