What A Commitment Looks Like

Not enough time. 

Not enough money.

Work or family requirements.

Don’t feel like driving that far.

Too tired or sore or fill in the blank. . . . .


Ever find yourself using the above sentences as reasons or excuses for missing Systema classes? Some are weak. Some are valid.

Every once in a while, someone comes along with a story that puts things into perspective. . . a story that serves as a model for how to get things done. This story is about Ed Symmes Sensei.

Symnnes Sensei is a Kyudoka (one who practices the art of Kyudo or Japanese archery). He has the rank of Godan (5th dan) and is one of the highest ranking people in this art in America . His dojo is in Atlanta Georgia.

Now, you may be thinking — OK, that’s impressive. High ranking in an art notorious for detail, detail and more details. Very difficult to pass tests. Here is where we want to take notes. . . .

In the beginning, there were no Kyudo teachers in the area. As such, Symmes Sensei decided to take it upon himself to write to the masters in Japan, inquiring about lessons. The Kyudo masters in Japan would write back (this was of course before the Internet and email) in Japanese, a language he does not speak, providing detailed instructions about this art. Sometimes, the gap in between writing and receiving a reply was 6 months. Upon receiving the reply, he would have to have the material translated and then do his best, by himself,  to interpret the instructions. Then practice and practice. This went on for years until he found an instructor in South Carolina and the rest is history in the making.

Look up the word “commitment.” Better yet, re-read the aforementioned paragraph. Next time you don’t want to drive the 40 minutes or pay the $40, just remember: Someone, some where is willing to go over and above average to fulfill their dreams. They refuse to live by the Rules of the Common and Convenient. Nothing, not time, negative emotions, money or any other factor will stand in the way of living their passion.

2013 is a blank sheet of paper. You have the pen. What commitment will you write this year?