Goal Setting, Persistence, and Training in MuDoKai

September 2016

I trained for about 8 years before earning my Black Belt in MuDoKai Karate. It was a relatively slow process for me as I had to balance my training with school and a job. The truth is though,even without those outside responsibilities I wouldn't have set any speed records in my pursuit of Shodan. But I had set a goal for myself and I was going to achieve it. I knew I could, because I had set goals before which ended with success. A year before I started my martial arts training, I entered and won my class at the Mr. Sunshine State Bodybuilding Championships. That was a HUGE achievement for me as I had once been the proverbial skinny kid on the beach getting sand kicked in my face.

September 2016 Newsletter Goal Setting Training Persistence 001

(Sensei Katon, Mason and Mayer)

The turning point in my life came when I began to set goals and write them down. Initially they were very small goals. For example, I would write down that I wanted to bench press a certain amount of weight by a given date. Since I knew what I could bench press when I started out, I knew that in order to get to my goal I would have to make a certain amount of progress in each workout. My progress was slow and steady and I was realistic with my expectations, but I always challenged myself to give my best effort. Each time I met a workout goal it gave me a boost of confidence. And that confidence led to more success,and so on. That translated into success in the dojo. From the day I walked into the University Karate Center I was hooked. I loved the atmosphere and was in awe of the black belts. While I was strong, these people had a combination of strength, speed and agility that was really impressive. I made a goal at that time to earn my black belt. It took longer than I thought it would. But that's the way goals are sometimes. A goal is a destination. I see it as setting a course and then hoisting the anchor. Sometimes, the "winds of life" may pull you off that course, but you can reset the sails.

September 2016 Newsletter Goal Setting Training Persistence 002

(Sensei Katon kicks while sparring Sensei Stamp)

The great thing about having a goal is that you always have that "end point", and can readjust to get there. Eventually I got there! I used the same strategy in school. An underachiever in high school, I was told by my college guidance counselor that I should not pursue a career in pharmacy because of the math involved. When I began college, my first math course wasn't even for college credit! That's how far behind I was!! Ah, but I had tasted success by then with bodybuilding and karate and KNEW that I could do anything I was willing to work hard enough for. I'm convinced that the discipline I gained through my martial arts training at UKC was a key factor in my success in school. I graduated pharmacy school with honors and won the "Deans Award" for highest scholastic achievement in my graduating class!
You can use this same goal setting strategy in all aspects of your life. Keep balance in mind, and SET YOUR GOALS for school, work, training and family. WRITE THEM DOWN. Above all, NEVER QUIT! Remember, anything worth having takes work. And nothing is as important as hard work and persistence. Good luck with your goals. You get one chance at life so do it right!

© Sensei Dean Katon, Sandan (3rd Degree Black Belt) July 18th 2006