I really miss walking through the dojo door. These days, I practice martial arts at home or take online classes. While I am happy these opportunities exist, I miss the transition from daily life to when I take my steps through the door to the floor of the martial art dojo.
The frame of the door itself represents the entry to everything I believe in: values, courtesy, empathy, encouragement, ethics, and physical and mental growth, to name a few. I am a new person when I cross the threshold. I am more. I am stronger. I am a martial artist.
The dojo door is symbolic to stepping into a new realm. Martial arts are not about talent, endurance, or skill as much as you think. Rather, they are about personal improvement. Anyone who enters through the dojo door is challenged to learn and expected to think. The training is rigorous. You push yourself harder than you thought possible. You lose track of time and that is when your mind clears. The daily grind, commitments, difficulties and obstacles dissipate.
The best part about the dojo door is that you leave your regrets behind. There is no time to think about your mistakes or failures. They cannot penetrate the frame of the dojo door. It is like a shield exists that blocks the negative from seeping through the door. It is the place where your heart embraces the moment.
You do not need to be a martial artist to find your door or your entryway to being the person you want to be. Martial arts are my thing, but that does not mean you cannot find a different challenge. Learn to play music, dance, draw, sing, ride a mountain bike, ski, or play basketball. Each has it’s own door that swings open to welcome you, whether a school door, a house door, or a nature door. Every time you step through one of these doors you find a renewed sense of self because you are changing, growing, maturing, and becoming a better version of you.
My martial art practice is what pushes me along in new directions day after day, year after year. When you push yourself in new directions, new doors open and new strengths emerge. You suddenly realize that you are capable of so much more than you realized. Just like the dojo door for me, your doors will never fail you even if you decide to close one door and open another. Finding the right doors takes time.
I used to depend on the dojo door and I miss it. Now, I make the transition from daily life to my home dojo. There is no door, but a long hallway in the house that leads to where I work out in the living room. Like the fighter making their way to the ring, I walk from the hallway to the practice area and clear my mind before settling into martial art practice mode. I learn to live without the actual dojo door, but the door still exists in my mind. Adaptability is yet another strength that martial arts taught me that I never expected to attain.
I leave my regrets and worry on the other side of the dojo door and that gives me a true reprieve from the stress in life. Remember, there are several doors for you to open all with their own stories, expectations, challenges and experiences. None is right or wrong but you will know when you enter one that catapults you forward in a positive way like martial arts do for me. That’s a keeper.
Life is a journey of twists and turns that you cannot anticipate. Decide what is important to you now and consider what you love and want the most in your life. It may seem like the door is not there, but I can assure you that in one way or another, you will find some kind of threshold that opens up to where you want to go.
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