Last weekend, we celebrated the publication of my third picture book, “The Follow Through Karate Kids: A Dojo Kun Character Book on Wrestling with Quitting.” We had a small book launch party in the park. As a way to kick off the event, several of our dojo students demonstrated karate. When we practiced for the demo, I especially made it a point to get a message across to our youngest students. I said, “The show must go on.
“Even if you mess up. Don’t make a face, don’t make a noise or stomp your foot. And especially don’t walk away and quit. Just refocus, get back to it and do the best you can.” Isn’t that appropriate advice for all of us this year? Note: I include myself in that.
We can Always Learn More about How The Show Must Go On
I probably could have done better at using this advice this year. I don’t know if I’ve made many faces over the last many rough and tough months, but I do admit to stomping and making noise. And I have felt like just walking away and quitting many things.
But I grew up in California, only a couple hours away from Hollywood. I know that our lives are like a show, of sorts. And I know that the show must go on. I learned to put that phrase to use when, as a child in California, I was an extra in a community theater production of “The Music Man.” Maybe we weren’t the best singers, but we were asked to sing anyway and even if we messed up, we just kept going. We continued on to the next phrase, on to the next song and the next scene.
Karate Teaches Perseverance and Many Forms of Grace
In karate, I learned even better to keep on going, even if the pressure is on, and all eyes are on you, and you mess up. Don’t pause; don’t make a face. Figure out how to seamlessly go to the next move. The one thing that I think all of my first many demos had in common is that I messed up at least one move somewhere. To be honest, I still mess up. Not always, but I do it regularly enough.
Or here’s another thing I learned from karate: maybe you signed up to participate in a demo or an event, and then you don’t feel like doing it. Maybe people gave you negative input. Or you just “aren’t feeling it.” As a martial artist, you follow through with your word. You show up when you said you would. And you show up in life where you have a responsibility to do so. Because the show must go on.