Kyoshi's Technique of the Week

April 5th, 2015

From Sempai Dennis Flynn
Shihan Cocoa Florida YMCA Dojo
Under the Direction of Hanshi Robert Scaglione

Onegai Shimasu Hanshi, Kyoshi, Sensei and all Deshi,


In my opinion, one of the most important “keys to success” in all walks of life is self-discipline. This holds especially true for those who intend to continue their karate training and continue to advance in rank. What do I mean by self-discipline?
The dictionary meaning of self-discipline that I like the best is this one: the discipline and training of oneself, usually for improvement.
Hanshi often encourages us to challenge ourselves to reach our fullest potential. I remember him saying this to us on many occasions when he leads our workouts: “Is this impossible?” Yes! “But you can still do it!” So, do it anyway! And, I would find a way to get lower, or hit harder. I had the self-discipline necessary to do it. Because: if you believe in yourself, you can accomplish things that may seem impossible at the time! That is part of what self-discipline is all about.
The great Green Bay Packers coach, Vince Lombardi, has a lot of famous quotes. One of them is very similar to what Hanshi was trying to help us understand. Here is that quote:
The good Lord gave you a body that can stand most anything. It's your mind you have to convince.
Vince Lombardi

You see, we can get lower, we can hit harder; we can keep getting better and better. We just have to have the self-discipline to make it happen! We have to want it enough to believe we can do it!

James (Jim) Whittaker is a famous mountain climber. In fact, he is the very first American to reach the summit of Mt. Everest. Not only that, but he ran out of oxygen, and still kept moving forward until he reached the top. Why? Because he had the self-discipline to find the strength to continue! Here is a great quote from Jim Whittaker:

You can never conquer the mountain, mountains can’t be conquered. You can only conquer yourself.
Jim Whittaker

Mr. Whittaker understood that the only thing that could keep him from reaching the top of Mt. Everest was his own self-discipline, or lack of it. He accomplished a lot more in his life as well.

Do you know who Helen Hayes was? Here is a short bio of her accomplishments to give you an idea:

Helen Hayes' career in entertainment surpasses most others in years as well as in achievements. She began acting at the age of five and didn't stop until she was 85. Helen is one of only two women to receive all four prestigious entertainment awards: a Tony, Oscar, Emmy and Grammy. In 1983, the Helen Hayes Awards were established, encouraging other aspiring actors and actresses to reach for their goals as she had done.

Here is what Helen Hayes said about self-discipline:

Everybody starts at the top, and then has the problem of staying there. Lasting accomplishment, however, is still achieved through a long, slow climb and self-discipline.
Helen Hayes

There are many, many more inspirational quotes from successful people in all walks of life, but the message is the same: hard work, believing in your abilities, and self-discipline, are the keys to long term success! I try to teach the habits of self-discipline whenever I have the opportunity to teach others in many areas of my life.
When teaching in a dojo, I stress the importance of self-correction as a part of self-discipline. Most of us know that we need to step first, or get lower, or chamber better, or use more power when doing kata at full speed and power. We can have the self-discipline to fix that within ourselves!
Is it impossible? Yes, it is impossible. But do it anyway!

Sempai Dennis Flynn
Shihan Cocoa Florida YMCA Dojo