When Excellence Becomes the Norm

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAExpectations are an interesting concept. If the actual event meets or exceeds them, feelings are typically elevated. If not, the experience is viewed in a negative light, even if the event was pleasant. In other words, playing with expectations is a tricky game.

Except in some instances.

Yesterday, I had the honor of training with Peter Carbone Sensei. I expected it to be exceptional. They always have been, so why should this time be different.

Truth be told, it was even better.

Three hours felt like about 25 minutes as the training was yet again, absolutely brilliant. The combinations of stick work, knife and empty hands were as creative as they were enjoyable. The ease at which Carbone Sensei moves from one technique to the other is truly amazing. It is like watching water flow past rocks, logs and other obstacles in a seemingly effortless fashion. He has set the bar so high that excellent has become normal when training with him.

This year marks my 30th year involved in martial arts. Over this time, I have had many gifts and great opportunities to study with elite instructors. Yesterday was one of those gifts, and I am very thankful to Carbone Sensei, John Krieger Sensei (and his students) and every one of the 20 people who came. It was a great experience.

I would like to commend Christy, Gary, Rudy and James — students at Central Florida Systema — for their participation. As always, they were exemplary in terms of openness to learning, kindness toward fellow students and overall energy as a martial artist. Also, I was very happy to see Sifu Jeff Sindy in the mix. There is something about watching someone (who already is at a high level) participate in an elite training like this for the first time. That in itself is a cross between learning (complex, flowing movements) and entertainment (the smiles and look of awe).

Needless to say, we had a great time. I thoroughly enjoy training with Carbone Sensei and look forward to his return in February. It will be undoubtedly, spectacular. Afterall, that is the norm.

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