THE LESSONS LEARNED
Several years ago, I participated in a year long program for master instructors called The Ultimate Black Belt Test. This program was developed by one of my mentors, Tom Callos, a practicing martial artist, activist and teacher, with over 40 years of experience.
As part of my test, I had to complete 50,000 push ups, 50,000 crunches, 50,000 jump ropes, walk/bike 1,000 miles, journal every week, record 1,000 acts of kindness, chose and write about 10 living heroes, mend 3 relationships, right 3 wrongs, raise money for charities, etc.
The goal of the year long test was to challenge us physically, mentally and spiritually. It’s probably one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life.
And I didn’t do it just once, I participated in another UBBT two years later.
Aside from the physical aspects of the test that were pretty challenging, I think I struggled the most with recording 1,000 acts of kindness. For me, I grew up holding doors open for women, using nice manners and helping others. I was very uncomfortable taking credit and checking off something I did most every day for much of my life already. So in the beginning, I was determined that my 3-4 daily acts had to be extraordinary, something really special.
LIKE really big on a scale of 1 to 10, at least a 9 or 10!
“NO ACT OF KINDNESS, NO MATTER HOW SMALL, IS EVER WASTED. ” —AESOP
I lasted for about 4 days with this strategy and then almost came to a standstill. I was running out of ideas for my big acts of kindness. Days passed by and I was starting to fall behind with this challenge. I was growing more and more frustrated until one day, I decided I would sit down and really try to understand what the purpose of this task was.
And that’s when it HIT me!
It was an “ah hah” moment!
I suddenly realized it really doesn’t matter what the act of kindness is….simply waking up each day thinking how I could make a difference in the life of someone I knew or even a complete stranger, was all that mattered.
So instead of focusing on a big thing, I just did whatever came naturally to me and suddenly I was recording 7-8 acts of kindness a day without really trying. More importantly, I watched how my acts of kindness had a ripple effect on others who were determined to “pay it forward”.
The lesson was so powerful, that I have incorporated acts of kindness in my karate curriculum in my school. In addition to the acts, my students also need to raise awareness and money for a charity of their choice prior to testing for their black belt.
Each of us has the power to change the world, one SMALL act of kindness at a time.
Go out and start TODAY!
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Sensei Chris Feldt is the owner and chief instructor of Samurai Karate Studio, a leadership academy located in Northeast Columbia, South Carolina. His school teaches karate to children and adults ages 4 and up. SKS specializes in self-defense, anti-bullying, stranger danger and character and leadership development.
Mr. Feldt was an adjunct professor at the University of South Carolina for college credit in karate and self-defense. Samurai Karate Studio has been recognized as a leader in martial arts instruction by being honored with the Best of Columbia Award for martial arts instruction for 8 consecutive years in a row.
Sensei Feldt is a certified instructor for C.O.B.R.A., a worldwide self-defense, and personal protection program. SKS offers Active Shooter Training, Real Estate Safety, 10 Week Self Defense Academies, Bully Workshops, and Child Safety Camps.
We also provide corporate safety training.
Sensei Feldt has been a guest speaker in the Richland 2 School District covering school talks on stranger danger, anti-bullying strategies, kindness, and making good choices. He is available for both private and corporate self-defense seminars
Samurai Karate Studio is also a proud member of MAAB, Martial Artists Against Bullying, a nationwide program made
up of martial arts schools throughout the country that are committed to helping children who are victims of bullying. If you or someone you know is be ing bullied, we are here to help. But, you have to take the first step and either call us at 803-462-9425 or email us at: [email protected]
Bullying is one of the most serious issues we face today and with the right coaching, students can learn how to defeat the bully using non-violent strategies.