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Barriers and Breakthroughs

One of my favorite parts of Festival is getting to see friends from all over the world, many of whom I may not have seen since the previous year’s Festival. And an aspect of seeing all these friends and training with them that I especially enjoy is recognizing and celebrating their growth.

Sometimes that celebration comes in the form of a new belt and there were a lot of those this year! Other times it isn’t a belt, but a breakthrough, that happens at Festival. I had the honor of seeing a few breakthroughs happen right in front of me this year, and have heard stories of other breakthroughs not only this year, but every year. Did you have one? I’d love to hear about it. Post it on Facebook, if you’re comfortable, or send me a note.

There is a third in the trifecta of “B’s” to celebrate at Festival, though it may not seem like cause for celebration at first: Barriers. We won’t recognize breakthroughs without them. That’s what we’re breaking through! And just as important, how we handle them says a lot about where our training is. We’ve all faced a barrier in our training, some technique or concept we struggle with. It’s part of the cycle. We have a struggle, we have a breakthrough and then when we’ve gotten past that obstacle, we celebrate the breakthrough (at Festival this can come in the form of awarding the next belt). But I say we need to celebrate each phase of this cycle because they don’t really exist by themselves. Each one has value in To-Shin Do training … though they may not feel equally valuable. I saw a few people working on their own obstacles this year as well, and admired the honesty and fortitude with which they were faced.

So if this year brought you a belt, a breakthrough, or even a barrier, congratulations for being there on the path with us! Wherever in the process you were this past weekend, it was great having you at one of the greatest training events of the year. If you couldn’t make it this year, I look forward to hearing how you overcome that barrier when we see you next year!

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