Two Ice Cubes Please

Over the multitude of decades, we have transitioned into an age of instant gratification. The old adages of “good things come to those who wait” or “fine wine isn’t made in a day” and countless others have seemed to have been forgotten.  This I think, is a side effect of our enhanced connectivity to each other by way of our advancing technologies.

Children today will never experience the buildup of anticipation for Saturday morning cartoons like in the sixties and seventies as this has been replaced by the instant access of cartoons twenty four hours a day via a multitude of cartoon networks on TV or the internet.  Gone are the days you wrote a letter to a friend or a distant family member and waited patiently for weeks (sometimes months) for a reply. No longer do we need to wait for the appropriate season to get our favourite fruit or vegetables nor do we have to trek to the store with our film and wait a week or so to have it processed into pictures. With Amazon Prime, I can have almost anything I desire at my door within a day or two. I can only reference the past forty years or so, but if you had this conversation with someone in their seventies or eighties, they could give even more examples. This exciting time of globalization has definitely enhanced our lives but we as a society have, to a degree, lost that ability to invest in the long term. 

Recently, as part of one of my personal requirements, I have been learning to run.  I have never been a runner, nor do I overly enjoy it, however I do understand its benefits and do appreciate the achievements associated with it.  I am working towards a 10K run and my training hasn’t been going too bad, however I found myself rushing it. I am lacking patience.  Although I started training only a few weeks ago, I found that I wasn’t sticking to my program, I kept pushing it to go further and faster.  Now this isn’t necessarily a bad thing to a degree, but I have found this has actually slowed my progress down.  Too much, too soon creates injuries and takes away from the “enjoyment”.  Patience is a virtue, and although I can’t run 10K today or tomorrow, with slow and steady progress, I will, someday.

Like we have often heard, you can only climb a mountain one step at a time and I know I need to invest time and energy over the long term for long term goals.  I will run 10k, I will savour the wait and the anticipation, however in other areas, I will enjoy instant gratification, and I will continue to get two ice cubes in my coffee because I want to drink it now.

Thanks for reading.

Mike Kohut

What We Do

I have a memory from elementary school that is as vivid now as the day it happened. I was a kid that befriended anyone, didn’t belong to any one “click” but wandered as I pleased and I feel like I was accepted by most in this role. I remember one day at recess I was with a few friends, one of which I considered my best friend. I don’t remember the circumstances but I do remember the girls I was with started picking on another girl, calling her names, pushing her to the ground. I was young, I didn’t know what to do but I knew instinctively that it was wrong. But I didn’t do anything about it. I stood back and watched it happen with wide eyes and later when this girl reported what happened I was named as one of the girls that was bullying her. I remember being called into the office, the incident went on my report, my parents were contacted and I felt so ashamed but I also felt it was unjustified, it was not me! I didn’t do it!

This was before Kung Fu but I still had the understanding that it was wrong. I just didn’t know what to do and even if I had I didn’t have the confidence to stand up to my best friend and risk the fallout. 

When I see all the kids lined up in front of me I can remember what it was like at that age. Nothing was more important than acceptance from my peers. When I was older I remember being on the other side of the fence but it never bothered me. It just didn’t bother me if someone didn’t like me and I always knew that they’d come around or just quit. I had good friends and I felt secure in who I was. No one else could tell me who I was.

What do we teach? Too many just see the kicks and the stances and the pushups and the punches. They are only tools. The physical skills that we teach and develop are only tools to teach real Kung Fu, real self defence. In our lessons we encourage personal excellence, and make sure we acknowledge the big and little milestones alike. The words we use will never break a child or student down. We ensure we build up confidence, the real kind of confidence that comes from competence. Not the phony kind that stems from low self esteem. We teach the kids to love themselves, and if they can’t in the moment then we will for them. We temper this with a drive to always improve because no one is perfect. We’ll be excited for them at the things they achieve, especially if they’re too shy to be excited for themselves. We will accept them for who they are in each moment.

Do we teach kids how to handle conflicts and bullys? Every day. You may not hear the term or even see the dots in any given class. Given time these kids will not only have the skills to deal with conflict, but they will also have the conviction to do what is right but hard, the passion to excel at what they love, the confidence to admit and accept their faults, and the determination to never quit trying to improve. 

I know now that I was rightly named and I acted no better than the girls directly involved. It felt horrible in my heart but I did not have the skills to handle the situation. As a result I feel shame when I think about it. If a child has a similar memory when they’re an adult, I want them to be able to think about it with pride instead of shame. This is what we do in Kung Fu.

Khona Rybak


We all have our sense of normal. This is what makes us unique. No two people are exactly alike. Some are proficient at one thing while other people are proficient at others. Some people seem fortunate enough to be naturally adept in anything they try. Why is there this perception? It seems true, does it not? The truth is, these people are just the same as anyone else. There are things they excel at and things they suck at.

The real difference is, they engage in everything they do. When it comes to what they are not as naturally good at, they engage just a little more. They accept the fact that they are lacking, but do not settle. They ask questions, they put in the effort to truly figure out what they need to do. When they come across adversity, they do not give up, wipe their hands of it and move on to the next thing. They try and fail, try and fail. They have the confidence to keep going until they have the competence to do it well. These people are masters of their own life. They are in control of everything that happens in their lives.

Even if they are not in control in the literal sense, they make changes and adapt to minimize the circumstances that are taking the control away from them. This does not mean to control everyone's life around them, just their own. If the affect of maintaining control over their own life affects those around them, that is simply an after effect. It is usually and preferably a positive effect that encourages us all to remain calm and in control. Masters of life are ordinary, just like you and me. 

I too one day hope to be in control of everything possible in my life, it is my life after all. If I am not in control of it, how can I possibly help others when they are struggling to get control of theirs?

Dan Sollinger

Cycles - "From Chaos, Comes Order"

We set goals, we make plans and we allow for adjustments along the way. Then life happens! And suddenly we are in a state of chaos. Even with adjustments and the ability to compensate we can be easily thrown off track and derailed. Being proactive and having a solid yet flexible plan is a great start. However, even if you know that something is coming and are able to prepare, the reality while in the moment can be much different.

Chaos is a natural cycle of life. And if you were to think of chaos as being contained within a circle then there would also be creativity, rest and action. Order and even greatness can come from chaos if we follow the intended natural progression below:

1. Chaos - When we are in a state of chaos we need to declutter, clean, simplify and say no to anything that is not necessary. Doing this will help create space and allow you to move out of chaos into the next step.

2. Creative - Space has now been created for ideas. Capture those ideas by writing them down, contemplate, filter and prioritize. Pick 1 or 2 to action later and then transition to the next step.

3. Rest - Take time for yourself, let the ideas percolate and allow synchronicities to happen. Allow gratitude rather than guilt to be present. This is a very important step and is needed to help rejuvenate the mind and body.

4. Action - You are now ready to action your ideas. This is where the magic happens!

If I look at patterns of my own life I can see where I sometimes get derailed and lose some of my motivation. I often go from chaos straight to rest, skipping the creative aspect which then keeps me stuck in rest because I now have nothing new to action and I lack motivation. Many people go from chaos to creative and then straight to action without stopping to rest causing them to burnout and often ending back at chaos.

I'm excited to apply these these principles and recognize where I am at and what needs to happen next. And when chaos reigns and plans get derailed I have a new tool to add to my tool box and help guide me and get me back on track.


Michele Ward