We are all given gifts, they differ from person to person, it is what we do with them that counts. If we waste them or don’t use them for a good purpose, things never seem to fall into place. We all know what is good for us, we don’t need someone to take charge, nobody can do it better than we can for ourselves. Step up and take responsibility for our own lives.
How often do we let a lack of self-control set us back in life? Do we follow the latest trend blindly without doing our own due diligence? Its time to step up, take charge, do our own research, trust in ourselves and live the life we dream of living. Making our own informed decision is the only way to live life.
We are only free when we conquer our ignorance and weakness while taking personal responsibility for our actions. It is when we put away selfish thoughts, stopping giving into animal indulgences that we realize just what our purpose is on this planet.
Becoming an expert in anything is never quite as simple as taking a weekend course to get certified by an organization. The journey for knowledge is never-ending. Many people expect to go to school, take a class or two and become a master at something. In reality, a true master never stops their quest for knowledge.
With martial arts, in particular, I’ve learned that when you teach others you quickly realize how much you still do not know. You realize what faults you have, and if you take the right steps to remedy your faults, it helps you grow.
No matter what you do well, there is always someone who does it better. If we become so conceited that we believe our own hype, we will never continue to grow.
Even if you receive the highest award in your field, you cannot relax and quit working on your craft. If you do not consistently grow, you will soon be outdated.
There is a documentary I have watched a few times called Jiro Dreams of Sushi. It is about a man who found something he loves to do, make sushi, and he works tirelessly to perfect it. He is never content and is constantly looking for ways to make better sushi. That is why his small restaurant is rated the best sushi restaurant in the world.
In life, we must constantly keep learning in order to stay relevant. If we want to stand out in any endeavor we must keep learning and it must be quality knowledge that we gain.
We must change our mindset. Instead of doing something to win, we instead will choose to do something to gain knowledge and grow. It can be humbling to work at things we are not good at, but in the end, it is a valuable lesson. To grow, we must let go of our fear of failure, humble ourselves and often it means forgetting about what the rest of the pack is doing.
I encourage you to pick something you are not good at, and start learning, growing and developing new skills. Each of us has at our fingertips a vast amount of knowledge, why not use it?
When it comes to our faith, the same thing is true. We can never just sit back or coast on our faith. We must constantly strive toward growth. As a Christian, it is up to me to put in the work to continuously grow and become more like Jesus. None of us is without faults. I need to realize what my faults are, and work on them.
An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.
Making better use of our time while enriching our lives sounds a little bit like a self help guru’s pie-in-the-sky sales pitch. In all honesty, it is possible to accomplish both of these goals by making a few small changes to our daily routines.
I love to wake up early before most of the world around me is awake. The early morning is a quiet time when (after a cup of coffee) my mind is working like a well oiled machine. I can get a lot finished in a short period of time.
I realize that most people will not want to wake up as early as I do. We can all, however, plan our lives so we have a routine where we go to bed a little earlier, and get up a little bit earlier.
The extra morning time is time we can use to enrich our lives. How? Reading, for one. I always read books at night before I go to sleep. Reading helps me unwind and relax before I go to sleep. I also enjoy catching up on world news and reading my Bible first thing in the morning.
Books open up new worlds. They let us experience other lives, other periods of history and other places. Books can teach us or entertain us. Often, they do both. I have read so many books that I thought I would have no interest in, yet once I started I was sucked into the story.
The year is winding down. It’s time to think about the new year ahead and making some changes. I encourage you to wake up earlier and enjoy the morning hours. I also urge you to spend more time reading books.
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
2 Timothy 3:16-17
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
It has been two years since my wife and I made the decision to relocate to the Midwest from Southern California. It was actually a decision that came fairly easy, because we were both ready for change. We thought about it, prayed about it, and things fell into place quickly.
We set the move date, loaded a moving truck up with our belongings and sent it on its way across the country.
We arrived at the farm on July 1, 2015. It was the first time I had ever seen it – the place where my wife grew up. A farm that had been in her family for over a hundred years.
I had two things on my mind. The first was to unwind after the long drive, and the second was finding a gym where I could train martial arts. A friend of my wife’s family stopped by that day and invited me over to his farm the following weekend to help butcher broiler hens. I was trained on the spot and soon our freezer was full of delicious farm raised chickens. I hadn’t realized that you raise some chickens to eat, and another kind to lay eggs. There was so much more to learn.
After googling local MMA and Jiu Jitsu gyms, I found one nearby and headed over to check it out. That day was the first time I thought maybe I had made a mistake moving to the Midwest.
I introduced myself to the man who ran the gym, and asked if I could train. He invited me back for a Jiu Jitsu session later that night. When we returned, he was extremely rude to both my wife and I. I didn’t realize what had changed in the past few hours until he confronted me about being “a rat,” and told me that I wasn’t welcome in his gym. This was after he made me wait an hour to speak with him. Apparently, he had googled me and felt I wasn’t worthy of his gym based on my past. What a welcome to my “fresh start.
It turns out, that was the best thing that could have happened to me. It forced me to rethink about the things that were really important. It took me out of my comfort zone, but looking back now I can see how much I was forced to grow.
The next week I found a great gym with talented fighters who were not interested in my past, but in how I trained as a fighter. They have always treated me well and I like the guys I have gotten to know there.
My wife had a clear vision of what she wanted to accomplish and she headed back to school. I knew deep down what I wanted to do – open my own gym and write- and in reality, I could do both wherever I was located.
I have been passionate about three things in life consistently: Martial Arts, fitness, and writing.
The word passion is overused a lot today, so I will explain what I mean by it. To participate in each of the arts I love I was willing to put in the years it takes to become proficient in them. To me one of the greatest attributes of all three “hobbies” – Martial Arts, writing, and fitness – is that you are never great, you can always improve.
I was introduced to Martial Arts in the 1980’s when I had just turned 13 through David Miller and Ted Lucaylucay. David owned Musashi Martial Arts Supply which was an equipment wholesaler. He also taught kickboxing to a few people at his warehouse. I met Ted through David and I was soon taking Jeet Kune Do at Ted’s Dojo in Huntington Beach. In those days I would ride my bike to both places which would take over an hour. I had to settle for boxing after David and Ted stopped teaching because there was no other place to train back in those days.
Throughout my teens, twenties, and early 30’s I trained sporadically when life wasn’t too crazy. I later started training Mixed Martial Arts and I found out I really liked Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. In 2005 when my life stabilized after two decades of craziness, I began training Jiu Jitsu twice a day. I came to the conclusion that I wanted to take it up a notch, so I started training with the fight team at Joker’s Wild in Orange County. It was there that I met a lot of future world champions. During that time of my life I would get to work by 4:30am so that I could leave to train at noon and again at night. I never turned down an offer to train with any fighter, because I knew that was the way to improve. When I entered the gym I would look around. Whoever was the best, that was who I would train with that day. I cannot begin to count all of the black eyes, bloody noses, bruises and injuries I have had over the years, but I never quit.
I have a lot to say about a lot of things so writing has always intrigued me. There is nothing better than a great storyteller who can bring you into the world they are writing about.
I never took the time in school to learn anything useful about writing, so I had to do it the hard way. I started writing a blog around the year 2000. It was called Crimeman and it almost cost me my life.
After that, I used to write on legal pads and in binders, but it was just thoughts with no direction. Once I decided to really tell my story, it took about four years of hard work to get the book Breakshot into a form that could be further shaped and edited. That book was rejected by publishers close to a hundred times before it found a home.
Breakshot brought me into Hollywood where I learned to write screenplays. I wrote seven over a period of years and to date I have only sold three.
Looking back my life has been a rollercoaster ride because I was always in search of the next thing. Once here in the country, life slowed down there were fewer distractions.
I knew I had to rededicate myself to my endeavors. I began to write every day on a schedule that I set for myself. The words began to flow from within and I realized that I no longer wanted to write about criminals and their world. It no longer held my interest. In fact, it brought me down. So I began to write about what it takes to make changes in your life, and other topics that did hold interest for me.
Training people in Los Angeles was easy for me. If a client did not meet my standards I could always find another. In the gym, we had a constant stream of new clients. In Illinois, I had to rethink my approach and learn some patience when working with people.
It was in this process that I learned a lot about myself and what I really like to do. I found out that while I enjoy training people that fight or want to fight, it is those people who will never fight that I enjoy training the most. I found that I can help those people change their lives through their experiences in the gym.
It seems like so much more than two years have passed since I have started over in the Midwest. I have grown and learned a lot. My wife says I have changed a lot (for the better). I have truly witnessed what God can do in my life. I have seen God close some doors and open others. I have worked hard and have met great people. I am looking forward to my future.
To put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.