“Your imagination is more real that then the world you see, because the world you see comes from what you imagine and believe! What you believe and feel to be true is what will be your life.”  Rhonda Byrne


“Sometimes the best you can do is just remain silent because no words can explain the battle that’s going on in your heart and mind.”  Anonymous


“When we fill our thoughts with the right things, the wrong ones have ho room to enter.”  Joyce Maya


“Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come,
Whispering ‘it will be happier’…” ― Alfred Tennyson



With the coming of the New Year, we have the prime opportunity to renew ourselves and rededicate ourselves to our families, work or school and our training.

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, and self-development.

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.




The strength of an individual is found in the creation of his mind. This power can become so great that sometimes when men harbor a great thought, they are to an extent taken captive by it. The idea possesses them and infuses them with its strength. William James said, “If you wish to possess an ability or attribute, act ‘as if’ you already had it.” Let it get hold of you. If you would be courageous, act “as if” you were already courageous. Shakespeare said, “Assume a virtue if you have it not.” So few people succeed because so few can conceive a great end and work toward it without deviating and without tiring.

The best road to success is to think big and act big and to give substance to your greatest thoughts by putting them into action. Our business is to work, to surmount difficulties, to endure hardships, to solve problems, to overcome the inertia of our own life. Keep in your heart a shrine to the ideal and upon this alter let the fires never die. We should immediately discard all of our philosophies of failure. We should throw out the weaknesses of evasion and procrastination. “Fear is with the faithless and faith is with the fearless.”

When we immerse ourselves in positive thinking and constructive attitudes, we saturate ourselves with success and then are possessed by it. Strength and weakness are both “inside jobs.” Poison on the outside may not matter; poison on the inside is disastrous. Exercise makes us strong. We can start with little things that we can handle easily and increase our load at easy intervals and get into the success habit by being willing to pay the price. And this day by day exercise with the philosophy of strength and courage will make us grown strong and capable. Now is the time of our greatest opportunity. Seize it and teach it to obey. Shakespeare said: There is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at its flood leads on to fortune; omitted, all the voyages of our lives are bound in shallows and in miseries.


Why Does Listening Matter?

It is important because – you live by yourself but you cannot do it alone.

God made us incomplete. We need other people.

Understanding others helps us understand our self better.

What gets in the way of effective listening?

Not having a listening heart – with pure intent – karate=s beginner=s mind.

A person must want to listen.

A tendency to listen to our inner voice instead of the person that we are meeting.

Wanting to hear what we want to hear, rather than what the person says.


Several seminars I have attended have involved the art of Listening. In each seminar the presenters, the best being Steve Shapiro and Bob Proctor, state that HEARING is a physical process but LISTENING is wanting to hear. Listening is the second most important thing we do, next to breathing and it is the forerunner to LEARNING. Listening, which will make a difference in our lives and in the world, is: a Skill; a State of Mind; a State of Heart; an Attitude; an Art; and a Path to Enlightenment. At each level of physical, emotional and social development, listening is emotional and it is mental. Listening at a high rate must be practiced. It is a choice, an attitude, where people must decide that they want to hear. When with other people, we have a choice to listen to the other person or the voice inside our head. We listen to feelings with an intuitive factor of being. When doing so, we can sense the excitement, interest, emotion, and pain being transmitted. The quality of our lives is determined by the quality of our relationships. You cannot learn about another person=s beliefs and dreams, if you are talking.

A key to success in school, karate and life finds listening to become a State of heart because it is so much more than just hearing. At the highest level of listening, we use our eyes, our intuition, our emotions, our ears, our mind and our senses. It is an opening of our emotions, where we listen for the intent more than the content of what is said. It is more than the facts. Who is the person? Where is he or she coming from? Listen to and not about the individual – creates the connection between people.

If my State of Heart is the desire to just make money or promote my ego – my chance to reach other people is greatly reduced. If I intend to help other people, the rate of success is increased.

King Solomon said, Give me the gift of a listening heart.

Aristotle said, Wisdom is reward we get for a lifetime of listening when we would rather to have been talking.

Paths to enlightenment – Meditation and Prayer – require listening to the voice inside ourselves.

Relationships need this enlightenment to grow and flourish.

Listening is the polishing stone not the grinding stone in life.


Listening is a process – – people are involved in our lives, physically, emotionally, psychologically – – What do we listen for?

Recognize people for whom & what they are and their beliefs.

We cannot change people – accept them for what they are.

People are interested in themselves.

What is important to you?

How do you want your life to become?

How can I help you?

Ask questions AND listen.

Are they a victim or creator – have they taken responsibility for their lives?

Listen for those to whom You want to Give the Gift From Under the Tree.

When making personal decisions, listen to what your head says; then listen to what your heart says. If they differ, follow your heart! Whenever you listen to your heart, you listen to that part of you that is most interested in your well being.



 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


“Sometimes you’ve got to let everything go…purge yourself. If you are unhappy with anything…whatever is bringing you down, get rid of it. Because you’ll find that when you’re free, your true creativity, your true self comes out.”   Tina Turner


“The key to success is for you to make a habit throughout your life of doing the things you fear.”         Brian Tracy