Significance : 2014 Formal Awards Night Speech

Welcome to the 2014 Formal Awards Night.

Thankyou Anthony for your introduction and I’ll say thanks on behalf of Nivo for saving him from having to make another speech tonight ! J

I think this year it’s clear that we are going for the “quality over quantity” approach. This time last year we had double the amount of attendance and I have learnt a valuable lesson: Run the event in November before the craziness kicks in! There were a lot of people that wanted to attend and couldn’t make it due to other events they were required to be at….and I know it’s a busy time of year.

So….I know you have put aside your time and your money to be here tonight, and I really want you to know how much it means to me that you are in fact here now… I put every effort into making this a special night for all and I hope you enjoy yourself and feel that your investment was worthwhile.

I know I read directly from the paper…’s because I have to, to keep my mind on track………….So many thoughts per second , per minute…those that train with me know what I’m talking about. So…. Please forgive my lack of eye contact!

This year…..I planned on my speech being somewhat shorter than normal. A bit like me – Not huge……however to the point and mostly on target.

So let’s get straight to the point. ‘Significance’.

It’s an interesting word don’t you think? And I like words. What’s cool about words is that they are just that. Words. But a little like Rissoles and Mum’s cooking on the movie The Castle…..”It’s what you do with them”!

It’s not the word itself that gives it meaning…but those which come before and after.

IT’s not that they are said…it’s how and by who.

We all know that you can be told the same thing many times, but someone will just put it slightly differently….or perhaps your frame of mood will alter the way the meaning comes across and all of a sudden this “thing” being said resonates with you. Amazing.

I think this theory can also be applied to martial arts techniques.

IT’s not the punch, the kick, or the arm bar…’s the block that came before, allowing that punch to get through. Or maybe the slight footwork manoeuvrer that allowed you to land that kick…or the patience and foresight to sit and wait for your opponent to falter and move his grip so you could apply that choke. It’s knowing the basics and being able to put them together which creates the poetry in motion.

But….more than knowing the basics…I think what’s more important is understanding the ‘why’.

I remember I used to drive my high school math’s teachers crazy as I was always asking why. I would be told to just select the appropriate formula and apply to reveal the correct answer. This frustrated me no end because in order for my brain to understand which formula was the right one to use in the first place…I Needed to know why! Aaaaarrrghhhhh……it was a viscous circle and….Oh anyway. Enough reminiscing.

In Martial Arts it’s important to listen to your master. Your Sensei, Your Coach, Your teacher. Whoever that person is that is imparting their knowledge to you.

They have put time and effort into learning. Sometimes years of dedication. We must respect this and know that the reason we are here is to learn from this person something which we do not already know.

Or …maybe we do know….but need this person to push us and correct us, and guide us and make us fitter and stronger and better.

For this to happen however and in the shortest space of time, we must not question their instructions or judgement. We must follow and do as instructed.

What we should strive to find though is the why. Sosai said that all questions can be answered in training. Of this I am sure. Some answers come quickly…and others take much time. Some require patience and others are a quick and brutal lesson in a tournament situation. Regardless of how the answer is revealed though…..we need to strive to understand the meaning behind the lesson. We must push ourselves to discover the Significance.

Running a dojo is a hard business. I trust you all enough to say that Sometimes it’s tough enough that I doubt that It can continue. Then my ‘why’ kicks in…the knowing to my very core that running the dojo is all I ever want to do.

I have no plan B.

I have invested everything into those four walls where so many good things happen.

Peoples lives change. I know this because people tell me. You don’t always see it when you are up that close. Like you don’t notice your own child growing but then someone they haven’t seen for a while shows up and is astounded at their size!

It’s been a strange couple of months where lots of old students have either returned to training or have visited and written some just amazing letters to me. These thing’s strengthen my resolve, booster my confidence and remind me why it’s so important that I do what I do. Why all instructors do. It’s reminded me of the dojo’s Significance, not just to me….but I imagine to all of you here tonight and definitely to those that are still apart of the dojo but not able to be here.

I have also been made aware that even to those not still active members of EMAA….that passing through our doors has put them on some pretty grand detours in life and been a significant and meaningful part of their journey. That’s a big Wow for me.

I asked you all to bring along an item tonight. Something that was Significant to you. I’m gonna quickly open up the Mic to anyone who has something they would like to share………….

I want you to talk to each other tonight. Put down your phones and ask each other about these items and see what kinds of things come up.

I hope it’s an interesting journey ………I hope you hear some cool stories…but most of all it’s thinking about what to bring that I hope leads you to question yourself on some basic life concepts. What gives meaning to your world? Who are you? What are you supposed to do and Why?

I’m still working on this….but I honestly believe 100% that when you know your why…….and focus only on that….then the HOW shall be revealed to you.

And then when you DO your Why……You will be Happy.

One last thing……on your place-cards…you are probably wondering why there is a pen. I am sure you have heard the expression that the Pen is Mightier than the sword. Do You know why?

So you have been given a special gift indeed.

Use it well.