January 13, 2021
Paul McCartney wrote "Yesterday" a long time ago. He longed for a past where things looked better. Suddenly, I'm not half the man I used to be, How I believe in Yesterday.
We look back, and we look forward. We look at dreams that slipped away, and yet hopefully, also at dreams that came true. We all have our Yesterday's but hopefully we still have our tomorrows. It is up to us. We can regain that feeling of Yesterday. And we can become twice the man I used to be.
As the Rolling Stones wrote, "Catch your dreams before they slip away." What dreams do you still have?
I look back 30 years and I had a dream to come to Israel, the land of my ancestors, and build a life here. It is amazing what we forget and what we can discover. Going through some old letters and documents in my mother's home I found my pay slip for my final years in the USA, let's just say it was not very much. I found bank statements, I had very little to my name. At the age of 28 I had meager savings, and yet I had a big dream, to move to Israel and purchase a home.
I was told it was unrealistic, I was told I need to get down from Cloud 9, I was told I could not afford it. And yet I came, I saw, I worked and I succeeded beyond my greatest expectations. When I wanted to purchase the home where I live now, which I purchased to be a home and a dojo, again I was warned that I could not afford it. I purchased it without knowing how I would make the payments, and yet now it is fully paid off. And I did all while "dancing backwards", as a rabbi foretold years ago. i.e. he said to me, you will make it dancing backwards and laughing, you will do it your way, in an unconventional way. Turns out he was right.
The question I want to ask you all is this: How much are you willing to accept? How much of what other people tell you will you accept and submit to without a fight?
How much will you let other people's ideas limit you in your own life? Will you let other peoples ideas, thoughts, paradigms limit you?
Years ago I was told I could not succeed as a musician, it was unrealistic and I should keep it as a hobby. I accepted. I went to college to study Finance and Economics, a field I never could relate to. I recall when I graduated, my rabbi at the time said to my brother, "Well done for Moshe, he graduated from a difficult program. the funny thing is he has no interest in money."(1989)
At 27 I wanted to join a friend and study to be an ordained rabbi, I was told it was too late in life, I accepted. When it came to Krav Maga I was already older, I had experienced enough in life to learn that I must find my own way. At an advanced age I still had not "found myself", it was a friend, a 5th dan black belt in Shotokan Karate who gave me the best advice. He gave me 'non-advice", he said, imagine two walls and a narrow path between them. You are walking down the middle, you veer to the right and get hit, you veer to the left and get hit again. Eventually you find the balance, the correct path between the two walls. This is your path in life.
And so, this non-advice was the first piece of advice that I could relate to. I tried this and that, I listened to others, I took conventional jobs. My martial arts was a "hobby" but one I took very seriously. How could I ever become a martial arts instructor, a nice Jewish boy from a family of rabbis, tailors, school teachers?
I already had two college degrees, I worked on Wall St, I worked in banks, I never enjoyed any of it, I was getting older, not married, what was I waiting for? So God helped me and got me fired from a job, and I said, that's that, no more chitter chat. I took Itay Gil's advice and enrolled in Wingate Institute and earned my martial arts teacher's certification. Yes, I took the path less traveled, I took my trip to Walden Pond, I did it "my way", and I never looked back.
It is 4:16 am as I am writing this, another sleepless night. But that is OK, I am doing it my way, I am accepting no way as the way, there will be no limitations today. I will go back to my past to reclaim my future, and that future is hope. We are never too old to hope.
Like Johnny in Cobra Kai I woke up and suddenly realized that I am no longer the young man I once was, but I still have hope, I still have heart, and I still have dreams, and I have learned this: Never let anyone else's limited vision hold you back.
Now go get 'em Kid!
A younger Moshe while training at Wingate Institute. Seminar by Patrick McCarthy, hosted by my instructor Rony Kluger, Goju Ryu.
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