January 7, 2015
I am a success.
I am a success in many ways.
And I have certainly had many setbacks.
And I have been asked many times what it takes to be a black belt, an instructor, a career martial artist. How have I succeeded where most have failed?
Those who have failed included former Special Forces guys, police, military, world champions. All eventually gave up and took whatever job came their way.
I go back to what my instructor told me as a brown belt.
I want to see you hungry. I want to see you so hungry to get that black belt that you can think of nothing else. I do not want excuses.
And so it was. When I lived in Brooklyn and had a full time job, plus was a full time student at Baruch College and a part time student at Yeshiva, I still had time for my karate training.
I woke up at 5 am, every morning. I wanted to stay in bed. I wanted to stay in bed where it was nice and warm and not go outside into the cold snowy weather and walk to the subway. But I asked myself, "Do you want to be a black belt? yeah? So you get your lazy bones out of bed."
I can still recall the chill in my bones as I walked outside my home on Ave M. My face nearly froze as I walked to the train. But I was there every morning training with the uchi deshi at the 6:15 am class.
I wanted to succeed.
You want to succeed, so you say, but you also want to sleep in. You also want to go out for dinner. I had no time to go out for dinner and no money either. On the rare occasion that I joined friends for dinner I only had a plate of chumus and some pita. Why are you so cheap? they asked me.
I was not ashamed. "I am saving up for my home in Israel". They eat their homes and complained of having no money. I saved my money and bought a home.
At the end of the day, after a full days' work, another karate session at Oyama dojo, and night school at Baruch - City College, I took the subway home. As I got off the train and walked towards Frankie's pizza I said a little prayer, I hope he has something left for me.
Usually Frankie would say ..."Hey, I got one calzone left, you want me to warm it up?"
And that was dinner. Next stop was the yeshiva for some Talmud study. And then a few hours sleep.
I was hungry for success.
How bad do you want something?
How hard are you willing to work at it?
And how soon are you going to give up?
I recall a sitcom I saw as a kid. David Cassidy was a pop musician who tried his hand at classical composition. He showed his first piece to a known composer and asked for his opinion.
"What would you do if you I told you it was awful, worthless, what would you do?" Asked the classical composer.
Cassidy answered, "Well if I am that bad I would give up on it."
"In that case" said the Composer, "Give up now! not because you are bad but because you lack motivation, and you don't believe in yourself."
I heard that over 40 years ago but it is still with me. If you lack motivation and you don't believe in yourself you might as well give up now.
How bad do you want it?
The number one quality you need for success, in martial arts, or in any field, is desire. You have to want it so bad that it trumps everything else.
When I was going for my black belt I was offered jobs, I turned them down if they conflicted with my training schedule, with my classes at Itay's gym, I just walked away.
If you do not have time for training it means you don't have desire for training.
I learned this lesson in college, in my economics class. Our professor held up a quarter, a 25 cent coin, and asked how much is it worth? I have used this example numerous times. He asked what is it worth?
Most people answered it is worth 25 cents.
He said that was yesterday, but today you are Economics students and that is no longer the correct answer. The correct answer is that 25 cents is worth every single item in the entire world that you can purchase for 25 cents.
If you choose to buy chewing gum at the cost of 25 cents, you have also chosen to give up a pack of baseball cards that cost 25 cents, a candy bar that costs 25 cents, a notebook that costs 25 cents. You see?
You have also chosen not to save that 25 cents towards your education or Krav Maga training.
However you choose to spend your time and money you are sacrificing something else.
You want to train in Krav Maga? You may have to give up Sunday evening at the Deli, or your fancy coffee. You might even have to give up Cable TV.
You want to come to Israel for Tour and Train? You might have to give up going to an NBA game and paying $60 a ticket. You might have to give up eating out all the time. You might even have to give up Starbucks for a while.
Whatever you want in life will involve some sort of sacrifice. Fact.
Dare to dream.
Imagine yourself at the next level. I learned this in business school.
Dress and act for the next level.
You want to be the manager? Then think and act and dress like the manager. Get a nice tie. Walk like you mean it, work like you mean it.
That tie costs more money? Find the money.
It takes more time? Find the time.
Are you hungry for success?
I was always the first one at the gym and the last one to leave. And I paid on time, in cash, always.
An additional factor, rarely mentioned and not taught to us in Business school, in fact was never even mentioned during all those years, is integrity.
What is integrity and how does it relate to a successful business?
Integrity is standing for something, and sticking to your word. With Krav Maga integrity means only teaching what you truly believe will work. It means you never stop training and researching. It means you care about your students as your loved ones, no less!
Integrity means delivering the product you advertised and promised, in the best and most efficient way. It means not taking advantage of your clients.
Integrity means remembering that you are here to serve your clients and you must remember that they are at the center of all we do.
I have students who put their pennies together and flew here from Australia and New Zealand, Argentina and Chile. I have a student who was unemployed but he found a way to get here from New Zealand. And I have students who live next door but can't seem to get here. But every time I run into them they tell me of their great desire to train.
Don't tell me, show me.
We make DVDs for your benefit, how many buy them? And yet they go out for dinner and drinks.
Are you hungry for success?
When I show up at a seminar and I watch my students, I know who has been viewing and training with our Krav On Line program. I know who has not purchased the DVDs, I can see it in their techniques. You can't fool me.
I know who is hungry and who is busy with something else.
We each have to choose what is most important to us in life, and be happy with our choices.
I know people who prefer being overweight and not giving up their eating habits, even if it shortens their life. They have made a choice.
I know people that would rather stay home and watch TV then go out at night to a Krav Maga class. They have made a choice.
I just received an e mail from a student in Jerusalem, "very interested" to learn Krav Maga because of the recent deadly attacks. When I told him the hours, 8:30 - 10:00 pm, he said, "I am not a night person". He will not be joining us. He is not a night person.
I know people that have given up on a family because they want to devote themselves to a career.
All this is fine if that is what you want. But you must know what you want and be honest with yourself.
Not everyone wants to be rich, some prefer a simpler life. Not everyone wants to be fit, and not everyone wants to be a black belt.
Know what you want and go after it.
Work hard, take the pain, face the challenge, never quit on yourself.
It is all about desire, if you want something, go for it and do not stop.
Are you happy with what you have and who you are?
If not, get busy, get ready for a little pain, get ready for some rejection, forget fear, embrace the future and move forward.
Are you were you want to be?
Change your life.
Immerse yourself in a two week inspirational experience. Live Krav Maga and Israel for two weeks. Give yourself two weeks and get a new you.
For more information
Krav Maga Tour and Train Israel Experience
Next session: June 8 - June 19, 2015