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Thomas Clifford’s Martial Arts

Are You Getting Better

Are You Getting Better Or Bitter?

Posted: April 04, 2019


“Patience requires the courage to endure the pain of uncertainty. Procrastination is a cowardly path of settling for the comfort of mediocrity and the misery of familiarity.” -Anonymous 


Dear Friend,


I trust this blog finds you well.

People often complain about change, yet everyone loves progress.

Sometimes your progress is difficult to perceive.

Children rarely give up on their training.

For most kids, going to the Dojo is a lot like going to the swimming pool.

How so?

Kids don’t like getting ready to go to the pool.

But they love being at the pool and in the pool.

Perhaps more importantly, they certainly don’t like leaving the pool.

Adults tend to become discouraged when they feel like they are not improving.

Results are important, and nobody wants to “spin their wheels.”

When you are getting stronger, increasing your flexibility, and building endurance - you know that your body is improving.

When your memory is getting better, your focus is sharper, and your imagination is expanding - you know that your mind is growing.

Guess what?

When none of these things seem to be happening, and your progress is imperceptible, and you persevere - you are building a non-quitting spirit - which is the greatest benefit of a serious Martial Arts lifestyle.

The following example is a fantastic metaphor for your journey to Black Belt and beyond.

Persistence and Patience...

When Bamboo is planted, watered, and nurtured, for an entire season, it does not grow much more than an inch above the ground. 

Again, in the second and third seasons, when persistent effort is given to water, fertilize, and care for the bamboo tree, the progress is imperceptible. 

So it goes, as the sun rises and sets for four solid years. There is nothing significant to show for all of the labor in trying to grow the tree.

Then, along comes year five.

In the fifth year, the bamboo tree finally sprouts and grows up to eighty feet in just one growing season! 

Or so it seems….

Did the little tree lie dormant for four years only to grow exponentially in the fifth? 

Or, was the little tree growing underground, developing a root system strong enough to support its potential for outward growth in the fifth year and beyond? 

The answer is obvious. 

Had the tree not developed a strong unseen foundation it could not have sustained its life as it grew.

If we are persistent, we can be patient.


I look forward to seeing you on the mat at the Dojo!



Kyoshi Thomas Clifford 

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