Too many people let fear keep them from becoming more successful in life. They don’t attempt new things because they fear what others will say or think about them. They fear failing at their new venture or they fear that being successful at their new venture, will some how have a negative impact on their friendships, relationships etc. Others don’t move forward with things they think about doing or achieving because they are afraid of the mental or physical pain that might be involved to accomplish their goal. In others words, they are not willing to pay the price for their success.
If you are not making positive changes to your life because of some sort of fear, here are a few tips that can help.
First…. Know why you really want to accomplish that dream or goal. The more specific you can be, the better.
For example, if your goal is to earn an additional $50,000 this year, know exactly what you plan to do with that extra income. If it’s to pay off debt, imagine how much better you will feel when all your bills are paid off. Imagine not wondering what you are going to have to do without to make sure you pay your bills on time. Imagine what you could do with the money that is now going toward your bills every month.
If it’s to take your dream vacation, imagine the great time you are going to have on that trip. Start collecting pictures & brochures of where you plan on going. Put them in a place where you will see them on a daily basis. Again, the more details the better.
If your goal is to lose weight & get into better shape, imagine how you will look and feel when you achieve your desired goals. Imagine how better the quality of your health and life will be. Think about being able to be more active with your friends & family. Think about how your new looks and energy will impact your job performance and advancement. If that still does not motivate you enough to take action, think about how bad your quality of life might be if you don’t achieve your health and fitness goals.
If you do these things properly, you will find yourself becoming a bit emotional and tied to your goal, as you think about your “why”. And it is this extra emotional attachment to your goals that gives you a better chance of overcoming your fears to accomplish them.
Taking a good, hard look at daily behavior is the key to setting realistic self-improvement goals.
The early Babylonians believed that what people did on the first day of the year affected what they did for the rest of that year. Many of us see the New Year as a perfect opportunity to start over or to change bad habits.
According to several surveys, the most popular resolutions people make are related to health and fitness (eating better, losing weight, and exercising), reducing consumption of alcohol, caffeine, quitting smoking, and becoming more financially responsible by promising to spend less and save more.
Unfortunately, over 80 percent of resolutions are broken by the end of January, and this can leave a person feeling discouraged and even more despondent than before.
Resolutions are complicated, and being able to achieve them usually requires taking a hard look at our thoughts and behaviors. Setting goals keeps us on track, but stamping out old habits is difficult, and may even require the help of a professional.
Compulsive and repeated behaviors such as overeating, overspending, and regularly drinking more than intended can be the result of an underlying anxiety and/or mood disorder. For example, some people may overeat as a means of coping with a troubled marriage or some other distressing life situation. Others may overspend because they are depressed and feel happier when they are shopping.
Examining and treating these underlying psychological issues will not only help us to understand why we continue to engage in negative behaviors, but also help us develop a plan for achieving long-term change.
Striving for self-improvement and setting goals for ourselves gives us a sense of hope for the future. Be sure to make your goals a priority, be specific, and work at them daily.
Good luck and Happy New Year!
Below are six tips to help you stick to your New Year’s Resolutions:
Your goal should be specific. Make your goal concrete, and if necessary, break it down into smaller steps. For example, if your resolution is to consume fewer carbohydrates, resolve to eat carbohydrates only at one meal per day rather than resolving to eliminate carbohydrates entirely. Once you are successful, begin to decrease your consumption further.
Write your Goal down and put it somewhere where you can see it on a daily basis. This will help you to stay focused.
Hold yourself accountable by letting others know about your resolution.
Have coping strategies in place to deal with obstacles that may arise along the way. For example, if your goal is to drink less alcohol you may consider skipping parties or events that involve a lot of drinking or bring a sober friend along to provide you with support and to help keep you on track.
Reward yourself at each milestone; if you resolve to spend less money; reward yourself by getting a massage instead of going shopping. It is important to be conscious of the rewards you chose.
Ask for help. Try to be open to seeking professional help when needed. Knowing when to ask for help takes a great deal of courage, strength and wisdom.
What resolutions have you made for the New Year? Can you suggest some strategies that may help others to keep their resolutions? Please share how you have been successful in keeping resolutions in the past or what obstacles have hindered your success.
Do you know the difference between Okinawan Karate & Japanese Karate?
Until I decided to actually visit Okinawa – the birthplace of Karate.
Since then, I’ve revisited the amazing island over a dozen times, mainly for Karate research. I even lived there in 2009, studying Japanese language.
So I can assure you…
There are MANY differences between Okinawan and Japanese Karate!
Today, I’ve decided to reveal 10 of them for you.
Check ’em out:
#1. Higher Stances
Okinawan Karate has a lot of high stances.
Because it’s natural.
For many people, this is good news!
Deep Karate stances can often feel “forced”, especially for tall Westerners, and tend to be painful for knees/feet/back.
(Particularly if done wrong.)
To put things into perspective, an Okinawan zenkutsu-dachi can be half the length of a Japanese one.
Perfect for lazy bastards like me!
Will these kinds of high stances build leg strength and stamina?
That’s not the point either.
The stances of Okinawan Karate are meant to be practical when applied in self-defense, since they can be quickly and effortlessly reached from your everyday stance.
That’s the point.
#2. “Why” Over “How”
If you practice Karate in Okinawa, you will often hear the word “imi”.
“Imi” translates to “meaning” in English.
Hence, in Okinawan Karate, the meaning of a technique is often more stressed than how the technique is actually executed.
The Why is more important than the How.
Japanese Karate, on the other hand, is often more focused on the How rather than the Why.
There are three main reasons for this:
The meaning of many techniques was lost during the historical transmission of Karate from Okinawa to Japan. If you don’t know the Why, it’s more sensible to teach the How.
The purpose of Japanese Karate is not aligned with the purpose of Okinawan Karate anymore. Historically speaking, Japanese Karate was molded to suit the spiritual Way (“Karate-Do”) of contemporary martial arts like Judo, Kendo, Aikido etc., with the main purpose of developing the character of its participants (through the How). The purpose of Okinawan Karate has always been mainly self-defense oriented (the Why).
The level of martial knowledge , i.e. biomechanics of Budo, is much deeper in Japan. Many techniques of Japanese Karate are influenced by other, more established, Japanese martial arts where the optimal movement patterns are well-researched.
For example, a Japanese sensei will go very deep in details of a kata.
(How to twist your hips, how to adjust your feet, how to shift your weight etc.)
But an Okinawan sensei will often remind you of the purpose of a kata instead.
#3. No “Osu! / Oss!”
In Japanese Karate, the verbal command “Osu!” (pronounced “Oss!”) is used sometimes.
This phenomenon has also spread to the West, and is even getting popular in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and MMA nowadays too.
I’ve NEVER heard the term “Osu! / Oss!” being used in Okinawa.
The reason can be found here:
The Meaning of “Osu” / “Oss” (+ When You Should NEVER Say It)
Okinawans generally use the word “Hai!” instead.
#4. It’s Not a Sport. It’s a Lifestyle.
When Karate was introduced to Japan, many things changed.
For instance, people started competing.
Most people don’t know this, but Japanese Karate practitioners actually changed many kata and added tons of new kumite techniques, for the sole purpose of scoring points in competitions.
Trust me; you’ll never see an Okinawan sensei teach you a spinning hook kick to the head!
Don’t get me wrong though; people in Okinawa compete too these days. But there’s a big difference in their approach.
In Okinawan, Karate is not a sport.
It’s a lifestyle.
Like one of my Okinawan friends, a 7th dan Shorin-ryu sensei, once told me:
“Karate is part of our cultural identity”.
It truly is.
Karate’s heritage is everywhere in Okinawa, and it’s such a natural part of their culture that it simply makes no sense to compete in it.
A growing bamboo does not compete with the bamboo next to it.
#5. Chinkuchi Over Kime
In Japanese Karate, the concept of “kime” is super important.
You’ve probably heard the term.
The word “kime” comes from the root “kimeru”, which literally means “to decide” or “to fix”.
Kime signifies that instant stop at the end of your technique.
(Read more: What is “Kime”? Dr. Lucio Maurino (World Karate Champion) Explains & Demonstrates)
Now check this out…
In Okinawan Karate, there is something else:
You see, in Okinawan Karate it’s not important to freeze the technique quickly.
It’s more important to transfer all of your energy into the opponent – like a shockwave. And in order to do this, you need an explosive release of full-body power.
Have you ever seen the famous “one-inch punch” by Bruce Lee?
It’s a perfect example of chinkuchi.
(Read more: Chinkuchi – Another Exotic Okinawan Karate Word)
It’s all about power.
#6. Kobudo Weapons
Japanese Karate is mostly empty-handed.
But in Okinawa, almost every dojo has weapons on the wall.
Because they practice Kobudo – the art of handling Karate’s ancient combat tools.
The 10 most common Kobudo weapons are:
Now, I’m not saying Okinawan Karate is an art with weapons.
But a long time ago, rural Okinawa was a very dangerous place.
Most thugs carried weapons.
And if you’ve never practiced with weapons, it’s hard to defend against one.
Therefore, old-school Karate masters were also masters of Kobudo.
(Related reading: Exposing The Lost Secret of Matsumura’s Mysterious Bo Staff)
Like Nakamoto Masahiro, 10th dan Okinawan Kobudo, once told me after we finished training in his dojo:
“Karate and Kobudo is like brother and sister.
These days, most Karate dojos in Okinawa practice very little Kobudo.
But trust me – they know something!
In Japanese Karate, it’s practiced even less…
If at all.
#7. Old-School Strength Tools
Okinawan Karate masters always promote physical conditioning.
Because if you’re weak and frail, you simply cannot defend yourself optimally!
So, they developed tons of crazy tools to strengthen & condition their bodies.
This gear is still being used in Okinawan Karate today.
Some of my favorites are:
Makiwara – a wooden, springy, punch board wrapped in straw. The saying “a dojo without a makiwara is not a dojo” should tell you how important this impact tool is in Okinawa.
Chi-ishi – a stone weight attached to a short wooden stick, made to be swung around the body to strengthen arms, wrists, hands, core and back.
Ishi-sashi – a hand-held concrete weight in the shape of a padlock, originally made of stone. It’s used in the same way as a modern kettlebell, but with a Karate twist.
Nigiri-game – big ceramic jars filled with sand, which you grip around the rim (one in each hand) while walking in different stances to strengthen your grip, wrists, arms, legs and core.
Tou – a standing bundle of bamboo tied together at the top and bottom. You strike it with your forearms, fingers and elbows (almost like a makiwara) but also with your legs, to condition your shins.
In Japanese Karate, you rarely see these training tools – except the makiwara.
But in Okinawa, you find them in every corner of the dojo.
They are essential.
#8. Tuidi Techniques
Next, we have something called “tuidi”.
While Japanese Karate approaches combat from a long distance range, Okinawan Karate prefers a shorter, closer, range.
Here’s where tuidi comes into play.
Tuidi is the Okinawan method of grabbing, seizing, twisting and dislocating an opponent’s joints.
Quite naturally, this aspect of combat also involves other nasty things like choking, unbalancing, throwing, trapping hands, hitting pressure points and nerve bundles etc.
These things are rarely taught in regular Japanese Karate classes.
Because, again, Japanese Karate was heavily influenced by pre-existing martial traditions when it was introduced from Okinawa. The original, short, fighting range was changed to a longer one – and concepts like “maai” (engagement distancing) were borrowed straight from Japanese samurai sword fencing (Kendo).
Therefore, the concept of “tuidi” is not as important in Japanese Karate.
But in Okinawan Karate it’s still being practiced.
A common Okinawan exercise for practicing tuidi is called “kakie” – a sensory flow drill, often called “pushing hands” in the West.
(Related reading: 2 Forgotten (But Deadly) Techniques of Okinawan Karate)
In fact, when you closely examine old-school kata, you will see that the bunkai of the kata movements make much more sense in the close range than the long range.
Try it and you will see.
9. Individualization Over Mass Training
As you might have figured out by now, Okinawan Karate has many unique quirks.
To truly understand it, you have to experience it up close.
Basically, you need personal attention directly from a sensei.
This is why Okinawan Karate is hard to teach a big group of people at once – you simply cannot give adequate individual attention to a group of 50 students or more!
Japanese Karate, on the other hand, was tailored for huge groups.
Because that was the goal when Karate was introduced to the various universities around Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto in the middle of the 20th century.
This phenomenon, along with tournaments, is the reason why many movements of Japanese Karate are bigger and more simplified than Okinawan Karate movements.
They need to be easily seen by huge masses of people!
In Okinawan Karate, it’s the opposite.
In fact, the average Okinawan dojo has room for like 10-15 people. This spartan training environment actually adds to the focus of individualization over mass instruction.
(Read more about training Karate in Okinawa: The Practical Foreigner’s Guide to Training Karate in Okinawa – The Birthplace of Karate)
Sadly, this is the reason many Okinawan masters can’t make a living from Karate.
They don’t have room for enough students.
Lastly, here’s something you might have noticed throughout the article:
Okinawan Karate has its own language.
(Literally: “Okinawan mouth.”)
Many Okinawan Karate terms I’ve mentioned so far – like “chinkuchi” and “tuidi” – are not Japanese words. They are ancient terms of the Okinawan language.
Some other popular ones are:
Muchimi, Gamaku, Meotode, Chinkuchi, Machiwara, Ti, Shinshii, Toudi etc.
(Those of you who attended my KNX14 seminar will recognize the first four).
This language is still used by traditional masters in Okinawa.
For example; when I went to Okinawa last summer, I learnt a new kata called Tomari Chinto. In one particular technique, my sensei told me to have a spring-like upward movement, called “hanchaatii”. Huh? I was clueless! What did he mean? When he saw my confusion, he quickly excused himself and said it in proper Japanese instead; “hana ageru”.
Now I understood!
This goes to show that Uchinaa-guchi is still very much alive today.
But it’s never used in Japanese Karate.
Only in Okinawa.
Oh, I’d like to mention an 11th one:
The dojo atmosphere.
In Okinawa, you are never afraid of anyone in the dojo!
Nobody tries to hurt you or outwork you, and there is no holier-than-thou aura around the sensei either.
Everyone are there as friends, working together in the spirit of Karate.
It’s a beautiful thing.
Sure, the Okinawan tempo can seem slow compared to the “kill-or-be-killed” tempo in some Japanese dojos – but I blame it on the tropical heat.
(Related reading: The #1 Reason Why Every Serious Karate-ka Needs to Travel to Okinawa Right Now)
In the end, it’s about doing what you love – whether it’s “Okinawan” or “Japanese”.
Thank you Jesse Enkamp Sensei for the article.
About the author Jesse Enkamp is a self-titled Karate Nerd™, #1 Amazon best-selling author, international champion and founder of Seishin – the world’s first crowdfunded & crowdsourced gi. He thinks you should become a Karate Nerd™ too.
Masaji Taira (Taira Masaji 平良 正次), born December 1, 1952) is a leading teacher of Okinawa Goju Ryu Karate Do, and head of the Okinawa Goju Ryu Kenkyukai. His teacher was Eiichi Miyazato, a student of Chojun Miyagi and the founder of the Okinawan Jundokan dojo. Taira’s karate is that of his teacher and the Jundokan, with the addition of his novel approach to the application of the kata.
Taira is best known as a researcher and practitioner of the bunkai of the Goju Ryu kata. He is unusually open in his teachings, feeling that the techniques and learning must be shared, for their preservation and to test their effectiveness. Karate
At age 16, Taira started training in Goju Ryu Karate at the Jundokan dojo of Eiichi Miyazato. There was a break in his Karate training when he joined the Japanese police force. He has trained continuously at Goju Ryu Karate since he was 21. He joined the Japanese Police Force when he graduated from High School. As part of his riot police training he was required to learn Judo. He achieved his Judo black belt in 3 months, when 6 months was more common. He attributes this to his childhood Okinawa Sumo training. He is currently 4th dan in Judo.
Vincent Shihan awarded his 5th Dan from Taira Masaji Hanshi
His day as a member of the riot squad ended at 5pm whereby he would make the journey from Gushikawa City where he was stationed to the Jundokan in Naha where from 6pm to 10pm every night he would pursue his karate training with an equal dedication under the guidance of Miyazato, founder of the Jundokan and heir to Chojun Miyagi.
While in his early years at the Jundokan he met a senior in the Dojo called Shinko Gima. Gima is a very wiry, extremely strong man whose kata exudes power. Although a slight man, he is formidable in his speed and execution of technique. Realising they were on a similar path the two men teamed up and spent their time in the dojo training together. Both hating to lose there were many battle scars received on both sides. After the dojo on many occasions, taken by the spirit of perfecting their technique, they would make their way to the hills of Madanbashi approximately an hours walk from the Jundokan. There they would spend their time training until sunrise on some occasions. Being the hills and given Okinawa’s tropical climate, the mosquitoes were always in abundant supply giving them all the more reason to keep moving.
Most of Taira’s karate career has revolved around his focus on the Bunkai of the Kata. He has painstakingly dissected the kata and trained his body to the point where he has mastered the inner workings of Goju Ryu Kata. Taira’s bunkai is unusual in his insistence on working the kata in sequence, rather than picking techniques from the kata in isolation. He is also adamant that the kata do not be changed to perform bunkai.
Taira’s first overseas seminar was held in Seattle, Washington in 1997 and hosted by Jundokan Seattle. Since then he has been traveling the world giving seminars on his interpretations of the bunkai of the Goju Ryu kata. He has presented seminars in Australia, New Zealand, the United States and Europe.
Taira was promoted to 9th dan by Kishaba Chogi, founder of the Ryukyu Bujutsu Kenkyu Doyukai and one of the few remaining students of Miyagi Chojun Sensei, and a junior to Miyazato Eiichi Sensei. Taira is also a student of Kobudo.
Taira Sensei at UMA 2016
It is important not to mistake his complete kata bunkai to mean that the entire kata needs to be performed. Any single technique can be used to finish a fight. The kata works as a template to prepare the student with entry and exit points for defensive and counter moves. With a complete knowledge of the system a practitioner should be able to response to almost any attack and have a start and end point from that attack.
One of Taira’s motivation in spreading his teaching world wide is to give him access to more partners of differing size and skill levels, to better test his techniques.
Taira Sensei at our Templestowe Dojo.