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I Don't Know?

I Can See It in Their Eyes

I wanted to share something special that has been happening recently at the dojo.

But first let me go back a little bit with a couple stories.

Through my life as a naval officer, sales manager, teacher, coach, and now running a dojo, it seems like I have always been obsessed with figuring out how to help people get the most out of themselves and reach their full potential. What do successful, high achieving and happy people have in common? What makes the difference between those who succeed and those who struggle?

From my life as a naval officer, I can tell you what drove all of us and particularly those in the officer corps – it was each other! The culture and expectations were very high. We were prepared for combat and we knew our lives and the lives of others would be on the line. The most powerful bond that held us all together was not the American Flag or “fighting for freedom”. It was knowing the guy to the right of me and the guy to the left of us would not never even hesitate to give his life for me. And, that I would do exactly the same for her/him. That is a very unique and special bond. As a result, we drove and expected nothing but the highest level of performance from each other. You do “rise to the expectation level of your peer group.”

From my sports/karate life, both as an athlete, coach and parent, I learned while a similar “for each other” motive as in the military happened, something else unique to sports also happens. I can explain in a way that probably only those of you who are athletes can understand. High performance athletes are different from the rest of us. They love the feeling of training/working out to the point where they almost throw up?! That feeling of pushing themselves physically, mentally and emotionally to the edgeis addictive and exhilarating to them! The rest of us cannot understand why they would even do this to themselves. We think they are a little bit crazy.

Finally, from my life in business, I learned the one common key to success in the business world. Success leaves cues. The highly successful do something others will not – Hard Work! The most successful business people I know have learned one powerful habit. They have developed the habit of hard work. That is all hard work is. It is just a habit. They work really, really hard all the time. They just love working hard. They love it so much they cannot even think of a life without it. It is who they are. It is their identity.

There are two other things all the highly successful share in common. First, they do not even knowwhy they do what they do any more. And, second, they have a very special look in their eyes. Call it what you want. Intensity? Focus? Drive? Passion? Obsession? And maybe even a little bit crazy? But I know the look when I see it!

So, with this background, let me go back to what has been happening at the dojo recently.

One of the things I have wanted so badly to develop here is a special environment where children can learn, at an early age, the high achievement and success skills I have been talking about in this email. I was not even sure it could even be done. How can we do this in just one or two classes a week? In just a 30 to 45-minute class? With kids coming to us at all different levels and with all different backgrounds?

I felt if I could just replicate and give children the stress, environment and practiceof these success skills we could do this.

Well to my utter delight I am seeing a significant transformation happening at this dojo(Thank you parents!). Something very special is beginning to happen in the Intermediate Classes (Green to Brown/White Belts). It has me extremely excited. I can see that “look”. I can see the look in so many of our young green and blue belt’s. It has taken most of them a year to develop but I can see it in their eyes! That special look of intensity and drive. Before this I had seen it in a few kids here and there, but now I am seeing it in student after student as I walk down the lines of the IBBT class!

I am also seeing them push each other at a whole new level. The students in the intermediate classes are now pushing each other more than our instructors ever could. They are raising the bar on their own!

Here is the other way I can tell this is “sticking”. When asked why they are working so hard they give the perfect answer – “I don’t know?”. They don’t even know why they are working so hard. It has become a habit. It has become the common expectation of their peers. They push each other. It has become their identity. It is just how “we” do it here.

Come watch a IBBT class. You will see something magical. You will see what high performance and success looks like.

You will see it in their eyes . . . and it is a beautiful thing!

Yours for stronger kids,


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