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Thomas Clifford’s Martial Arts

Rank Of Receptivity

Red Belt - The Rank Of Receptivity

Posted: February 26, 2019

“What I say about someone else tells you everything you need to know about me.” -Unknown



Red Belt - The Rank Of Receptivity

Dear Friend,

I trust this blog finds you well. 

We are getting great feedback on the 7 Habits summary series. 

Please keep sending us your comments and questions. We appreciate your input.

Dr. Covey’s 5th Habit Of Highly Effective People is Seek First To Understand, Then To Be Understood. 

It is perhaps the most elusive and difficult of the 7 Habits.

Most of us tend to want to be understood more than we want to understand others. 

You might be thinking to yourself - that is not true! 

He doesn’t know what he is talking about. 

I always try to… 

Well, guess what? 

You are doing it right now. 

You have not read the entire email, and you are already drawing conclusions.

If you have confidence in your ideas and beliefs, you are able to hear the thoughts and views of others. 

If you are afraid that you may be influenced by the thinking of someone else, you will probably try to overwhelm them with your opinions.

I am not suggesting that you remain silent, listening to the complete manifesto of everyone you meet. 

The principle here is to practice the lost art of listening in human interaction.

Interestingly, we are able to sit for hours, watching and listening to radio, T.V., and movies. 

We do this is virtual silence, respectfully (or hypnotically) absorbing the “thinking” of who ever is speaking.

Conversely, we get around the people closest to us, and we have a hard time letting them complete a sentence of fully express their thoughts. 

Or we pretend to listen until it is our turn to speak. 

Dr. Covey calls it the dialogue of the deaf.

Have you ever noticed how closely and empathetically you listen to someone after a crisis or a tragedy? 

Do you realize that poor communication was often the cause of the crisis or tragedy to begin with? 

How is that for irony?

Think about the nature of the Sempai/Kohai relationship in the Dojo. 

It encourages the Junior practitioner to study the Senior practitioner.

We encourage the Junior to understand what the Senior students are able to do. 

We also recommend that the Seniors study the Juniors.

Consider the Uki/Tori dynamic. 

The Uki receives the technique from the Tori. 

Then the roles are reversed. 

It is not a battle of who “goes first.” 

In fact, mutual understanding is far more important than the sequence.

In other words, someone usually has to “go” first. 

When in doubt, try doing the listening first. I have a feeling that you will not be met with any resistance.

Try practicing Habit 5 for the next 72 hours. You will be fascinated with this exercise.

“Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime.”


I look forward to seeing you and your family in class at the Dojo.


Kyoshi Thomas Clifford 

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