When I retired in September 2006, after what I considered a successful career, I didn’t know what I was going to do with my time. I only knew I was tired of the travel, long hours and time away from my family. What came next was quite a surprise.
I will spare you the story of thinking a dojo was a type of restaurant. When our friend Sifu Jennifer Corder sent a note saying she and her husband were fulfilling a dream by opening a dojo for Kajukenbo training we signed Thomas up very quickly. His best friend was Cameron Corder so it was a great opportunity for them to spend time together while training. When I took Thomas to the dojo Sifu Jennifer spent time with me expounding on all the reasons I should try it. So, when I retired I finally agreed to try a class. A friend of mine and I went to a morning class taught by Sigung Kelly. I was hooked and received private lessons for many months because it was new and word hadn’t gotten out about the morning class.
As time progressed, I became a little obsessive about my training. After a few belt tests, I was determined to get a black belt. That was my new goal. Both Sigung and Sifu kept talking about “the journey” but I only focused on my destination, the black belt. I wasn’t far enough removed from the competitive world of business to relax and enjoy my new obsession. I just kept thinking I wanted to reach my goal. It wasn’t until I started getting closer to earning my black belt that I started understanding more about “the journey”. I realized getting my black belt was really only the beginning. More importantly, earning a black belt wasn’t just about learning the Kajukenbo MMA techniques. It was more about learning respect, humility, goal setting, commitment, Ohana, giving back, discipline and much more. It was about living the black belt principles. It was about BLACK BELT ATTITUDE!
Everyone’s martial art journey is different. I started to train as a way to work out and be involved in something my son was doing. All of our family eventually started training which made it even better. The more time I spent at the dojo the more I realized it wasn’t just about training. We were developing our minds and spirit as much as our bodies. Everything we learn at the dojo applies to every aspect of our lives. It’s up to us to display our “black belt attitude” in everything we do.
I am enjoying my journey even more after almost 11 years of training. Although I’m past my prime physically, I still enjoy learning new techniques. I am a different person now than when I started and can’t wait to see who I’ll become after another 6 years of training at Kajukenbo Arizona.
-Simo Linda George