Returning to the Path

It's easy to assume the infamous thought of "That won't happen to me". Anything can throw a person off no matter how solid or how committed we think we are. If you begin to take the situation for granted and fail to uphold the discipline, next thing you know your standing there like a jerk on the side of your path wondering what just happened and a key component has dissipated. A few weeks turns into a few months, a few months turn into a year etc.

This has happened to me and I never thought it would, but it did, and now I need to do something about it. I recognized that a big part of my life took a back seat to priorities that came about and for some reason I was okay with the time anyway. Now I'm not okay with it because my Kung Fu is a big part of my mental and physical well being that gives me that escape, to turn all the other stuff off and take that time for me. I'm not as efficient as I usually am and my patience and tolerance is challenged, as is my physical abilities. This effect has become obvious to myself and others close to me, it's time for a restoration and a quest for balance.

That being said I need to remind myself that it can't be all or nothing. It can't be some intricate plan laid out that spikes and drops and fails to coincide with whatever comes at me. As it's always mentioned sustainability is critical. All or nothing or hammer the drive solely on the plan doesn't work and is not sustainable especially with how my work schedules tend to work out. One day at a time and keep it simple stupid will be my plan for the year of the pig and restore a very important piece of me that has been neglected, but not forgotten.

I can't even really describe how good it felt being back on the mats and working towards the restoration of Kung Fu awesomeness.  I woke up really happy and really surprised I'm not as stiff today as I thought I might be but there is no denying the gears of excellence are a bit rusty and I need a performance upgrade and a good solid review of my forms. This is a good thing.

It can very intimidating walking into the kwoon after a long absence but fortunately for me I was met with warm greetings and a lot of smiling faces, and that was really cool as it humbled me quite a bit to know I was missed and the influence my presence has on people. For that I am very grateful and wish you all a successful year. See you at the kwoon.

Brian Chervenka

Week 49

Week 49.  After 49 weeks of coming up with something to say, I'm not sure there is much left.  There is only so much profound knowledge one can come up with... notice I didn't say there is only so much profanity one can come up with... because that is different, and I have not yet found a limit there.  Believe me I've tested it.

Moving on

Forest Gump's mamma says "life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gona get".

An interesting and somewhat fatalistic approach, but there is a ring of truth to it.  You can work hard, eat right, exercise and get smooshed by a bus.  But Man!  Your heart and lungs will be the talk of the morgue!

We are always talking about mastery.  Which basically translates as work hard, do your best and don't settle.  A good approach, but it is still just hedging your bets.  There are always X factors that are beyond our sphere of influence.  By working hard, doing your best, and not settling you are laying the foundation for success.  This definitely increases the chances for success.  But it can't over ride the X factors.

It can, however, help us deal with those X factors when they do come up.  Sometimes stuff happens.  It's what we do about it that can be as defining as what we do to prevent it.  I have witnessed a sense of entitlement, for lack of a better word.  People who "do everything right" and still have a heart attack.  Of course they are  shocked from it happening, but in many cases they go to the "not fair" well.  Hate to break the bubble but life isn't fair.  Doing everything right doesn't guarantee us anything and life doesn't owe us anything.

That is the down side of reality, we have to be grown ups.  Mastery helps us to cope I believe.  Because there has to be a degree of self realization.  To paraphrase - Correction is essential to power and mastery.  You must be able to correct without invalidating one's self. -

Self realization, self correction, self accountability.  These things are essential for success.  These are the things that truly empower a person to practice mastery.  If it ain't broke, don't fix it?  Fine, but how do you find out if it's broke or not?  Self realization.  How do you maintain it?  Self correction.  How do you deal with it in the end? Self accountability.  Not the most fun things, but they make a difference.

Lisa Freitag

Engaged or Complacent?

Lately I have had my patience challenged severely.  I admit there are times that it would be easier to be complacent and stop being engaged.  Every day, and sometimes every minute I have to ask myself if I am doing what is right and being patient OR have I just accepted mediocrity and ignored what is happening around me.

This can also occur in our training because every day it is a fight to make sure I am engaged and giving my best.  It easy to just go through the motions instead of really looking at what you are doing and why.  I thought it would get easier as I advanced in the ranks but that has proven just the opposite.  It is easy to fall back on the things we know and have done. 

To me, this is mastery.  It’s not  “picking your battles” but mindfully trying to do your best. Accepting when you have slipped and trying to understand what caused it.  Its knowing that you will be challenged and you will not always succeed but you learn more from those times if you let yourself.  It's being able to become more proactive than reactive, and "let the experience be like the planting of seed within you - with nourishment, it will grow into your own individual mastery".

See you on the mats!

Jackie Kohut

Open Doors

I admire the young people that take Kung fu. They have such an advantage in the world. When embraced and used properly, the tools that Kung fu give us, transfer over to tremendous opportunities in the world. I speak from my own experience.

I had a job interview with Kicking Horse coffee last week. I was very relaxed and felt confident. I had a pretty good idea it was going to be easy to answer their questions. I had a lot of experience in a variety of areas. Plus, I had done a lot of interviews myself, so I knew the main idea of what they would want to know.

First question. “What do you like to do in your spare time?”  As soon as I mentioned Kung fu, there were all kinds of questions. What is the difference between Kung fu and other martial arts?  How long have you been doing Kung fu?  What belt level are you?  This leads to more questions and a simple non interview discussion. It’s a great conversation piece to ease everyone in the room and make them more comfortable in the presence of each other.  What do you do on a daily basis to stay physically healthy and look after yourself?  Easy peasy.  What do you do on a daily basis to improve yourself?  I almost laughed out loud at this one. After they finished explaining what having an eye for detail meant, thinking I had no idea....What experience do you have with having an eye for detail?  Any experience with leadership skills?  With working as a team?  Really!?  🤔😄. The interview was so easy.  Following it was a tour of the production area. Two days later, a phone call. Hay!  We at Kicking Horse think you are awesome, and would like it if you would accept an offer to join our team. I start next week.

It was great news. I have been working at the bakery for just over a month, but not getting full time hours. I had been talking to KH since the summer, and had hoped to join their team. My position is called “Packaging ninja!”  For real.  They have crazy names for all their positions. Part of the reason I like the company. They are a funny and friendly bunch. Then today, a talk from the couple that owns the bakery where I work. First from the wife, then from the husband. They are so thrilled with my work ethic and are sad to see me leave.  They commented on my skills with interacting with others, taking it upon myself to coach the new girl and make her feel comfortable there.  They love my people skills with the customers, and my confidence.   There have had some issues with other staff members being rude and making the work place uncomfortable. To me, it has been border line bullying. I spoke up, and was told that I was the bravest one there for doing so.  Changes are being made. Which is why today they offered me a position as assistant manager, with a $3 per hour raise, should I change my mind and stay, plus full time hours. That was a really tough decision, as I enjoy my work at the bakery and the new owners are so wonderful. The wife told me today that she enjoys being able to be herself and talk to me about anything, and that she trusts me. At the bakery, I get to meet all kinds of people. I talk to and interact with toddlers, young kids, teens, parents and grandparents. It’s a popular bakery so I meet lots of locals but also people from all over the world; Germany, the States, Australia, Switzerland and TONS of Albertans.  It is a friendly small town atmosphere.

I made the decision today to keep with my momentum towards KH. It’s a great company to work for, and with 100% benefits, bonuses, and extra perks, it seems to be the right place for me to be. The hours, 2 to 10 pm don’t impress me, but there’s always opportunities to move around in the company. Plus it’s monday to Friday, with all holidays off.  They were rated the number one company to work for in Canada in 2018.  Can’t be that bad of a place.  Plus they have 100% organic products, the company started here in a garage in Invermere, they belong to the free trade, and they promote outdoor activities. That impresses me and shows me what kind of people are running the company. They shut down on snow days so the employees can go skiing, and they provide $500 per year for buying outdoor gear, gym memberships, etc.  I told the bakery owners tonight what my decision was. They were very supported, and said their door will remain open, should KH not work out.

My point in all of this is that my Kung fu has opened up so many doors for me. It has given me numerous opportunities in a variety of areas. It gave me the confidence.  It gave me the tools and opportunities to hone in on my leadership skills, my people skills, my desire to improve myself, and to be the best healthiest person I could be. It taught me how to rise to my potential.  “Didn’t some of your best TEACHERS, coaches, parents, expect more from you?”  Kung fu expected more from me, and that has been extremely beneficial.  I started Kung fu when I was 35. I often wonder what it would have been like to start when I was in my teens, or my 20’s. No matter. I’ve gained so much in the last 20 years that have gotten me to where I am today. I’ve said it before. Kung fu has given me a way of life. A healthy, wholesome, positive, and rewarding way to live. Thank you to all my instructors and the instructors before them.

Brenda Stoddart