- The right instructor
- The right location
- The willingness to learn
But is that really three things, or is it just one? There are good instructors and good dojos all over the place. They could be down the street, or they could be half-way across the country. The important thing is that they exist.
So let's look at #3. Is this really a Yes or No question or, in fact, a scale from Unwilling to Willing? The further down the scale to willing, the more likely you'll go out of your way to make the training possible.
It's your choice. An article written by Dave Lowry and found on Koryu.com provides an amusing and practical example of this: http://www.koryu.com/library/dlowry7.html
So which one, of the many alternatives you have in life, would you choose? Do you relax and play video games, or do you go to the dojo? Do you try some other hobbies, or do you go to the dojo?
The benefits of the martial arts come from dedication and commitment. And it's not just showing up in class. It's working hard for every minute and every second. It's thinking hard about what you are doing and how you can improve. It's being there for your kohai and providing guidance. It's, in one word, a Responsibility. And until you are an instructor, that responsibility is solely to yourself. By not making it to the dojo, who are you really cheating?
Now bring that mindset, that effort into your everyday life. Your work, your family, your self-growth. Work harder to become a better person:
- Be committed and dedicated to all things you do (as you would in your training)
- Be reliable to your family, friends, and colleagues (as you would with your dojo)
- Be empathetic of other people's situations (as you would with your kohai or students)
- Be supportive of other people's opinions (as you would with your dojomates)
This is how the martial arts make people better.