Driving down the highway with my wife… I was no more right than I was wrong – when has that ever averted my adhering to my position, though – we found ourselves at a junction:

Do we argue and go down that path, or Do, in Japanese?

I like that, Do (pronounced Doe) meaning path or way, and Do (pronounced Due) meaning take action. Japanese and English, Path/Way and Action, in the moment and implied in past and future.

Often we get to the Green Belt phase and stop developing. This is where our actual skills are up against our grandly over estimated belief in our expertise. Simply, we believe we are much better than we are. More on this phenomenon later; look for a blog about the Green Belt Mentality. Back to our story, we had a choice to make: succumb to the Green Belt in us and only change a quantity or quality, or make a shift in how we do something. Make a shift in the very Do, we choose.

But, how do we go from choosing a path so often trod to a new path? How many times have we looked back on a path we have taken and groaned wishing we had done it differently? How do we change from reactionary to response based being? We can begin by recognizing that it will be ugly and uncomfortable, as transitions often are, especially when we are trying to change from who we were to who we want to be.

I love Kali (the Filipino Martial Art of 12 weapons – known best for its knife and stick work) and Jeet Kune Do (or JKD, created and made popular by Bruce Lee). They are fantastic fighting arts that happen to represent aspects of me very well. Today, though, I am not looking to fight. I am looking to resolve. Kali’s “Defang the snake,” hit the hit, doesn’t sound like it is going to help in the de-escalation and, ultimate, conflict resolution of this particular situation. JKD’s “when pushed pull, when pulled push” adaptation of superior fire power and entry-pressure-termination formula doesn’t seem to fit the bill either. But, Aikido’s principle of reconciliation, restoration of harmony, and conflict resolution feels like a perfect fit for this scenario. So, armed with my goal and an art who’s principles and philosophy match my goal, I am faced only with the question of how to get from where I am to where I want to be, from who I am to who I want to be.

This is the Do in Martial Arts. This is where the Path and the Action come together, in training and in life. We decide on a clear goal, we select the right tools to achieve it, and begin the journey along the path. By training different arts, we can better inform each, but, more importantly, have a larger tool chest from which to choose from, so that we can access the right equipment necessary to meet the goal at hand. The Martial Arts mat allows us to discover, try out, and train with each, applying them in a physical metaphor for our daily relationships, and preparing us for the difficult road of personal growth.