Black Sash Excellence! Just saying the words out loud you will feel a sense of pride and confidence. Why is this?...you may ask. What is this? To be direct: Black Sash Excellence is putting forth your best effort in everything you do. Here are some examples:

In Kung Fu you consciously are aware of the position of your feet, your weight distribution, your hip position/movement, your spinal compression, your timing of your strikes with the rest of your body, the locking out of the joints, the smile on your face, the relaxation of your body…are there any tense areas?, are you breathing throughout your movements?, are your movements fluid?, etc, etc. All of these things and many many more go into each strike when you are practicing by yourself and in a group. As you think about these things and are aware of what you are doing and are working on improving in every area…you are putting forth your best effort and are achieving/living Black Sash Excellence. Every time you are doing your best you will be achieving /living Black Sash Excellence. As Martial Artists we know that we will always “fight like we train”. If we train sloppy we will function sloppy. That is why Black Sash Excellence is so important.

Black Sash Excellence transcends the martial arts into everything you do in life. You will always be able to recognize a true Martial Arts Master by what else he does with his life…because a Master in Martial Arts will be a Master in all other areas of life (that he chooses) by definition.

Another example is in our relationships. Do we just return phone calls from our parents, siblings, significant others, etc or do we call those people when we feel hearing from us may brighten their day? Do we show up to dinner or do we bring with us a smile, postiive energy and perhaps some flowers, tea or a dish to share? We always have a choice to make when we encounter people in our lives…do we absorb their energy or do we radiate our own bright shining energy? One “takes” while the other “gives”. A Person who is living Black Sash Excellence “picks themselves up” and radiates positivity, love and energy everywhere they go! They carry a smile with them to share with others…to bring them up! Try this little experiment…as you walk around today smile at everyone you walk by…see what percentage of people smile back…I think you’ll be amazed at how many people will just smile back out of reflex…and in most cases that smile will be with them for the rest of the day I can assure you.

Another example is in our learning. Do we apply for classes to always keep learning new skills and things? When we show up to those classes, did we do our homework to the best of our ability? Are we ready to learn…have our notebooks and pens ready? Do we have a separate notebook of questions that we have on the subject so the teacher can clarify anything that may be unclear? Are we actively seeking to learn the material in the class? If we are bringing our full attention, if we are prepared with questions and notebooks and pens, etc then we are living our Black Sash Excellence here too! There are two ways to learn things, the “right” way and the “wrong” way. One will produce long term positive results, while the other will produce temporary, no, or negative results. Everytime you enroll in a new class, you make these decisions whether you realize it or not. I challenge you to live the Black Sash Excellence in the classroom?

One of the keys to living Black Sash Excellence is in not comparing ourselves to others. It doesn’t matter that you aren’t the best in the room. All that matters is that you are putting forth your best effort and by doing so you are better than you were yesterday. You only compare you to you. One of the greatest college basketball coaches (John Wooden) lived by this and quoted his father as saying, “Don’t worry about being better than somebody else, but never cease trying to be the best you can be.” His teams captured 10 national titles in 12 years using this philosophy. He didn’t ever mention “winning”, only mentioned “doing your best” and the results were magical.

So the next time you’re in class doing an exercise…ask yourself if you are doing your best. If you aren’t, step it up and do your best….then look around and see if you didn’t just pick up all of those around you! Excellence is just as contagious as sloppiness? Anyone in that class has the ability to pick up the entire class! Let’s all live Black Sash Excellence and do our best!

Author's Bio: 

David Fell is a Black Sash in Authentic White Tiger Kung Fu under Sifu Joel Rizzo in San Diego, CA. He has studied Ancient Traditional Chinese Medicine, Chi Kung (Qigong), Ancient Chinese Folklore Healing methods, tea, tea ceremonies, herbal tea combinations, many different styles of Kung Fu, and serves primarily the high end health market...people who have tried western medicine and are truly ready for real results. He believes the best investment you could ever make is in YOUR health and wellness! From there we can start building your wealth and legacy.