“Desire is the starting point of all achievement, not a hope, not a wish, but a keen pulsating desire which transcends everything.” — Napoleon Hill



Authors B.J. Gallagher and Steve Ventura wrote a great book about achieving success through personal accountability titled “Who Are “They” Anyway?” I like their list showing how each individual in the company can benefit by adopting a “personal accountability attitude”: Something magical happens when we accept personal responsibility for our behavior and our results. Not being upfront or completely honest to yourself or your teammates is unacceptable. It breaks the most important team bond—trust.

On any given day, we can be as shy and withdrawn as Charlie Brown, as pushy as Lucy, as introspective as Linus, as raucous as Peppermint Patty, as zealous as Schroeder, as sunny as Sally, or as self-absorbed as Snoopy. Yet, no matter our mood, each and every day, we all strive to be leaders in our fields, to our family, or of our own goals. Reflecting on what the Peanuts gang can teach us, we can unlock inspiration for each day of our lives.

  • You have more control over your destiny
  • You become an active contributor rather than a passive observer
  • Others look to you for leadership
  • You gain the reputation as a problem solver
  • You enhance your career opportunities
  • You enjoy the satisfaction that comes from getting things done…the power of positive doing
  • You experience less anger, frustration and helplessness—all leading to better physical health
  • You realize a positive spillover effect into your personal life at home
  • Where you end up is entirely up to you.
  • Even though change might be scary, it is definitely required.

The first step to making a quantum leap is making a decision. Many times, the freedom of having so many choices stops us from choosing one. We often find ourselves on the fence of indecision, thinking, “What should I do? What do others think I should do?” We start evaluating our abilities, becoming discouraged about the possibilities before we even commit to a certain goal, or outcome. a clear, specific definition of your intended direction is critical. If the destination is not known, how will we know if we are off course? A goal cannot be reached without clarity of vision.

It was clarity of purpose that helped me succeed — but my path was not a straight one. Everyone has setbacks. Then I did something that changed my life. I went to a series of seminars in an environment that caused change. The speakers and stories made me feel as though it was “my time.” Shortly after that, I prevailed, and my dreams became a reality. Nothing had changed except the clarity of my vision about where I was going. I became committed to making the change happen now. With that decision, obstacles started to move out of my way.

ZIG ZIGLAR was one of the presenters in that related many ideas that caused me to think. It is safe to say that if each of us took  the approach to life where we decided to change, advance and improve, we would accomplish much more. After every mistake, we need to understand that we can look back and learn so that we can move forward with confidence  and avoid making the same mistake again.  Here are three tips from Zig Ziglar about how best to handle a mistake:

  1. See the mistake as a step on the road to a solution. Do not let mistakes depress or discourage you. We must realize that depression and discouragement are negatives that limit the future.
  2. Admit the mistake. I’ll admit that takes courage, but recognition of errors is a sign of maturity. Not to recognize them is to deny them. The reality is that “denial” is more than just a river in Egypt—it’s something that will limit your future.
  3. Know that it is only when you ignore the mistake that it is negative. When we confront mistakes, we are taking full advantage of it as the “positive” they are.

   For example, the student with no hope of passing will not study. Why bother?  This is a limiting attitude and one where success may not be achieved.

Now here is the good news: Hope is a choice. A decision may be made to be a hope-filled person. Make a decision to share hope with others. In the process of doing so, watch what happens. One’s personal hope quotient is bound to rise.

Author John C. Maxwell says, “if there is hope in the future, there is power in the present”. Hope is the great activator! Decide to make things happen, and as we encourage others to make things happen in their lives, rely on hope. Use discipline to see the “hopeful” side of any incident. Include expressions of hope in your self-talk. Share words of hope with the people who surround you. Am I offering you a “head in the sand” approach to life? Am I saying that you should walk around with a smile on your face and a song in your heart, oblivious to daily reality? Of course not. However, we have a choice. Hope is a choice. We can look at any unfortunate or bothersome situation and say it is hopeless, or we can look for the hope in that situation. The choice is always ours. Take a moment today and think about the last 24 hours. Was hope shared, either by words or action? Or did you choose the opposite approach?


The positive, disciplined, attitudes developed through Isshin-ryu Karate relate to each of the ideas related by B.J. Gallagher and Steve Ventura, Zig Ziglar and John C. Maxwell. Desire to be successful in each endeavor. Decide to be positive and proactive. Use challenges and setbacks to become the motivators of life. Hope for happiness and success but know each of us must take action – not just sit by waiting.






Ideas can be life-changing. Sometimes all you need is just one more good idea. Miss a meal if you have to, but don’t miss a book.  Some things you have to do every day. Eating seven apples on Saturday night instead of one a day just isn’t going to get the job done.   Bob Proctor


“Everything that’s really worthwhile in life comes to us free—our minds, our souls, our bodies, our hopes, our dreams, our intelligence, our love of family and friends, and country. All of these priceless possessions are free.” —Earl Nightingale



As I type I think back on the training that we have done in the Hackettstown area since 1979, a number of the original students are still involved in our training. The training has remained traditional in nature, which is uncommon in these days because most directors of schools look to make money, sacrificing the “art and the tradition of self discovery and intrinsic improvement.”

One of the strengths of a karate training session is that the process is mental as well as physical, so the whole person benefits from the time spent in the dojo as well as during the disciplined practice at home. We cannot attempt to stay at the same level that we are at today. We must try to improve our abilities at kata, kumite, kobudo and self development. Training regardless of the reason provides us with an increased confidence in our ability to function at a specific level of competence. Training is something that cannot be over emphasized.  We need it initially to develop the basic skill sets and attitude that allow us to function in a given situation.  Intermediate and advance training enhances these skills sets and allows us to function at a higher level.  None of this will happen unless we train on a regular basis.  Training helps us develop the necessary conditioned reflexes to immediately deal with a problem as it happens.  It also prepares us for a variety of possibilities.

At times illness and injury may limit our physical activity. If this happens we either take time off or we continue to train, doing what we can to advance the capabilities we are able to use. Working through injuries when appropriate, knowing no further injury will occur if we do what is reasonable, is a sign of maturity, dedication and discipline.   So, with all this being said, what must be understood if we are to use the proper speed zone. Strive to follow the direction of the sensei that knows how to best help each of us to improve. Practice daily demonstrating the proper way to do kihon, kata and kobudo and at the appropriate speed. When in the dojo, use the time efficiently; arrive early and be ready to start at the beginning of each training session. Practice what you have been taught and be open to improve when instructed. Lastly, have a beginners mind; be open to learn and review the skills you may feel that you know (perfectly). With this open and willing mind, each person will be able to learn more (happily) and become an exceptional karate student and person.

Another strength of traditional karate training is seen when the student can focus his or her energies on the inner qualities that set our training apart from other forms of exercise. Goal setting is not unique to karate training but is at times different because we cannot look at just the physical benefits of an exercise program. We must take into account that we want to improve ourselves physically, mentally and emotionally. Think about what you want to accomplish during this year and write it on a piece of paper – – – put it away in a safe place (with your monthly dojo newsletters) and look at it every so often to see if progress is being made toward accomplishing the desired goal. Accept the challenge of setting realistic short and long term goals. Be prepared to work toward the goal and step by step improvements will be made.

As we enter a new year (2017), I am reminded of a segment of a segment from “Leading with Passion” by John Murphy. We must all strive to keep the love and passion for our training alive as we desire to improve daily.

” Light a match in a dark room and watch as the light instantly overcomes the darkness. Observe the power and grace of that single, solitary flame dancing with life. Now light several candles or kindle a fire and experience the added warmth and comfort extending from that first, vulnerable flame through others. This is the heart and soul of leadership—the essence of inspiring others. It is about courageously casting off fear, doubt and limiting beliefs and giving people a sense of hope, optimism and accomplishment. It is about bringing light into a world of uncertainty and inspiring others to do the same. This is what we call passion, the fire within. Passion is a heartfelt energy that flows through us, not from us. It fills our hearts when we allow it to and it inspires others when we share it. It is like sunlight flowing through a doorway that we have just opened. It was always there. It just needed to be accepted and embraced. Under the right conditions, this “flow” appears effortless, easy and graceful. It is doing what it is meant to do. It is reminding us that we are meant to be purposeful. We are meant to be positive. We are meant to be passionate. We feel this when we listen to and accept our calling in life. We feel it as inspiration when we open the door of resistance and let it in.”

“Remind thyself, in the darkest moments, that every failure is only a step toward success, every detection of what is false directs you toward what is true, every trial exhausts some tempting form of error, and every adversity will only hide, for a time, your path to peace and fulfillment.”

                                                         Og Mandino

Congratulations to the people who earned promotions since our last newsletter: Liana Torlucci, Skye & Trinity White – Junior Yellow Belt.

Golden Rule Karate Tournament, Sunday, February 19, 2017 – Warren Hills High School




It’s just a small, white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas tree. No name, no identification, no inscription. It has peeked through the branches of our tree for the past 10 years or so.

It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas. Oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it, overspending, the frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry and the dusting powder for Grandma, the gifts given in desperation because you couldn’t think of anything else.

Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties and so forth. I reached for something special just for Mike. The inspiration came in an unusual way.

Our son, Kevin, who was 12 that year was wrestling at the junior level at the school he attended, and shortly before Christmas, there was a non-league match against a team sponsored by an inner-city church. These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so ragged that shoestrings seemed to be the only thing holding them together, presented a sharp contrast to our boys in the spiffy blue and gold uniforms and sparkling new wrestling shoes.

As the match began I was alarmed to see that the other team was wrestling without headgear, a kind of light helmet designed to protect a wrestler’s ears. It was a luxury the ragtag team obviously could not afford. Well, we ended up walloping them. We took every weight class. And as each of their boys got up from the mat, he swaggered around in his tatters with false bravado, a kind of street pride that couldn’t acknowledge defeat.

Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly, “I wish one of them could have won,” he said. “They have a lot of potential, but losing like this could take the heart right out of them.” Mike loved kids, all kids, and he knew them, having coached little league football, baseball and lacrosse. That’s when the idea of his present came.

That afternoon, I went to a local sporting goods store and bought an assortment of wrestling headgear and shoes and sent them anonymously to the inner-city church.

On Christmas Eve, I placed the envelope on the tree, the note inside telling Mike what I had done and that this was his gift from me. His smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year and in succeeding years. For each Christmas,

I followed the tradition, one year sending a group of mentally handicapped youngsters to a hockey game, another year a check to a pair of elderly brothers whose home had burned to the ground the week before Christmas, and on and on.

The envelope became the highlight of our Christmas. It was always the last thing opened on Christmas morning and our children, ignoring their new toys, would stand with wide-eyed anticipation as their dad lifted the envelope from the tree to reveal its contents.

As the children grew, the toys gave way to more practical presents, but the envelope never lost its allure. The story doesn’t end there. You see we lost Mike last year due to dreaded cancer.

When Christmas rolled around, I was still so wrapped in grief that I barely got the tree up. But Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope on the tree, and in the morning, it was joined by three more.

Each of our children, unbeknownst to the others, had placed an envelope on the tree for their dad. The tradition has grown and someday will expand even further with our grandchildren standing around the tree with wide-eyed anticipation watching as their fathers take down the envelope. Mike’s spirit, like the Christmas spirit, will always be with us. Author Unknown