Starting - maintaining 

September 25, 2020  

We have just started a new year according to the ancient Jewish calendar. As usual people make promises; to themselves, their friends and family, to God. The question is how do they follow up during the year. How do we behave once the holy season is over. Sitting in prayer we think about life and vow to change, to improve, but under the stress of every day life, how well do we fare with our new goals?

I have some insight from a neighbor. She started a certain community project, a very noble one, one that benefited many neighbors and provided them with joy and pleasure. Recently I noticed that the project had been neglected, it has become "neglected and overgrown", and now was only an eyesore. I asked her about it, her answer revealed a good sense of self-awareness and honestly and also a deep lesson. 

She said, I am very good at starting things, but not good at all with the follow up. I thought about this. Yes, she has initiated many noteworthy community projects but how many of them are still on-going?

Now if you work for a company, or as part of a team, this might not be a problem. Some people have great initiative, they have great ideas, they are "Start up" people. But the day to day management, the follow-up, the maintenance, they leave to others. These others are good at managing the daily activities, but are not the Start Up types. So these two types of personalities make a good team. But what if it is an individual project? what if it is about you, your own life, what can you do?

if you are working on a diet, or a fitness program, starting is great, and praiseworthy, many will push this off for years and procrastinate endlessly. But this is something that only has a value if you continue, you cannot hand this off to a subordinate to manage for you. No one can do this work for you.

There is an old saying, if you start something you should finish it, and this is true. But what I am thinking of here is not something that needs to be "finished" but something that needs to be maintained, for ever.  If your goal is to lose weight, eat healthier and live a good life style, there is no finish line. There is no point where you can say "I did it", now I am done. The key word here is maintenance, you must find a way to maintain this activity. Our word is Maintain, not Finish. 

If you wish to learn self defense, great, you took the initiative, you signed up, you bought a T shirt and you started training. Now what? You want to earn a yellow belt, than an orange belt. You achieved that, you even achieved the black belt, so what is next? What is next is continue training, continue improving, find a pace that you can continue with. Of all my martial arts instructors I have never heard of a single one that "retired". I recently looked up my Wing Chun instructor, he is still teaching in New York. I hope to see him again and train with him. Those of my instructors who passed away, trained until they died or were hospitalized. They were masters of Maintaining. 

I admire those who take the initiative to start a community project, but either you must maintain it or pass it on to those who can do so. Henrietta Szold took the initiative to start Hadassah women's organization in 1912. That organization still exits and has built several hospitals called Hadassah. Over the years these hospitals have provided expert medical care to hundreds of thousands of patients, including my own family. Maintenance is key. 

And so it is with your Krav Maga Self Defense training. Starting is Great, Maintaining is what it is all about. 

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