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Guest Post: Doing the Work

This Guest Post is by my friend, Mark Tankosich, who has dan rankings in both Sho-ha Shorin-ryu karate and Zen Nihon Kendo Renmei jodo. Along with the martial arts, his passions include the Japanese language. He currently lives and teaches in Hiroshima, Japan.

Mark is the author of Karate Ni Sente Nashi: What the Masters Had to Say and Japanese Ego Negation and the Achievement of Self, which are hosted at the Hawaii Karate Seinenkai website. He has also published English translations of Japanese Karate articles, including Practice Kata Correctly, by Kenwa Mabuni.

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Doing the Work

A while ago, several things that happened in my everyday life all came together to lead me to another one of my "obvious insights." I won't bore those of you kind enough to read this with the details of my personal experiences, but the result of it all for me was a new "saying" that I try to keep in mind. That saying is, "You've got to do the work!"

What do I mean here? Well, when all those things that I mentioned above happened to me, it made me think about how often I express (even though it's usually only in my own head) some desire to achieve, change or improve something. "I should be a better husband to my wife." "I really want to improve my ability to read complicated Japanese kanji." "In time, my jodo will be good!" "I have to learn to stay more 'even' emotionally." "I should be doing more translations and research articles." "I'll get that kata down soon." And on and on and on.

But the insight (if you can even call it that!) that I had was that, while I was pretty good at finding goals to achieve or things that need to change, I wasn't, on a consistent basis, "doing the work" required. "Have I been more helpful to my wife recently?" "When is the last time that I seriously studied kanji?" "How often am I practicing jodo each week?" If my answers to these sorts of questions are not what they should be, then I'm just fooling myself with all of my wonderful thoughts about how I'm going improve or achieve something in the future.

No matter the goal, there is always "the work" that must be done. Always, and without exception.

Do you have any goals you'd like to achieve, or changes you'd like to make in your life? Remember: "You've got to do the work!"

Mark Tankosich