I love the martial arts! If you know me at all and have followed me in any capacity, you know that I am a life-long martial artist. I have been training in Taekwondo since 1983 and been teaching since 1986. Do the math and you’ll see that it spans well over three decades. Don’t know how that is since I am only thirty years old….only kidding.
On a more serious note, I love Taekwondo! Not just because the movements are graceful, beautiful, powerful and effective. I love it because of what Taekwondo represents. The five tenets of Taekwondo: Self-control, Respect, Indomitable Spirit, Perseverance and Integrity. In this article we are going to talk about applying these much needed values into your business and why it’s soooooo important.
It is a true martial artist, an individual with a black belt mindset, that holds the ability to apply the five tenets/values in and out of training. Let’s take a moment and use the example of an orange belt student working to advance to a green belt rank and practicing their required board breaking technique. Take a look?
Board Breaking and the five tenets
• Self-Control: Board Breaking requires a high level of control where the mind controls the body to execute the technique with power and precision.
• Respect: Every time you face a holder or a training partner, you will bow to the partner to show respect and appreciation. Without them, you cannot practice.
• Indomitable Spirit: A long time ago, my wife was testing for a new belt and at that time, she was little adverse to yelling. Being the sneaky husband I am, doubled the boards so she needed to dig deeper to break them. She attempted the break and failed. Tried a second time and failed again. Third time, she kihaped (Yelled very loud like a parent yelling at their kids) and she blasted through the boards like they were melted butter. Why, because she tapped into her inner spirit to execute the break. And no, I did not say to my wife, “I told you so”. I am much smarter than that.
• Perseverance: It always makes me smile when a student doesn’t break the board the first time. Why? Because I get to see the student tap into an inner strength that they didn’t know they have. They learn to persevere to break the board. It is one of the most growth oriented experiences in the martial arts.
• Integrity: It is practicing on your own, over and over again that will give you the ability to successfully break the board. Training without the need of an Instructor watching over you is essential for growth and the key to success in any endeavor.
You could see how board breaking, a simple part of training practiced by martial artists across the world could help develop these core values.
You may ask yourself if this could work for you? My answer is simple….
ABSOLUTELY! I think we could all agree that there is a certain mystique of the martial arts. Now I will take the same values and relate it to your business and professional life.
• Self-Control: In business, have you ever said something or done something that you regretted. Have you ever lost your cool with a Develop the self-control muscle in business by taking a deep breath before reacting to a person or situation. I’ve heard of individuals take a deep breath, count to ten and then reacting to a situation. Whatever you need to do, be sure to listen first, digest and react later.
• Respect: This is huge everyone, please take note. I have been blessed with some success in my martial arts training, business and real estate dealings. I have developed an incredible team of professionals that are always willing to go above and beyond to help me fulfill whatever goals and objectives that my wife, family and business partners set. This is due to a high level of genuine respect that I had given over the years to those I work with. Honestly, I believe everyone should show the same level of respect to the server at a restaurant clearing your table to the top executive you work with. Respect should never be expected because of who you are. You and everyone else should earn it by giving it first.
• Indomitable Spirit: I don’t expect you to be in a business dealing and start yelling and breaking the wooden desk. I’m sure you wish you could at times, right? Well, Indomitable spirit is your approach to whatever you do in business and life. It is your attitude, your energy that you give off to others. Know that people want to work with enthusiastic and positive people, not negative nellies. Be sure you are the light that attracts people to you and don’t be the one that repels. Have the same boundless enthusiasm and excitement as a kindergartener getting ready for their first day of school.
• Perseverance: If you are in business, I am sure you have had struggles, correct? I have had many ups and downs in business. It is never a steady upward line to growth but a roller coaster of peaks and valleys. When you have a dream and a strong worthy ideal, you could always pull through. I remember when I first opened my school in 1999. I borrowed $10,000 at 25% interest and zero business knowledge. I had confidence in my teaching ability and the inner drive to succeed. True story; the sign installer said to me as he was hanging my sign for my new school, “You know, I’ll probably be taking this sign down in a few months because most businesses fail within the first year.” I looked him in the eye and said, “Well that is not going to be me!”. That was twenty years ago. My goal was to have 100 students in one year. I attracted 200! Point is, when you have a strong belief in your business along with a strong purpose, (My family), you will persevere through any adversity put in front of you.
• Integrity: For many years we have had tea with Grandmaster Byung Min Kim on Fridays and he would share his wisdom with myself, Master Paul Melella, Master Joe Badini and Grandmaster Ed Ciarfella. One meeting, he explained that “Master” level is having no rules but you still follow and adhere to the rules. Meaning, there is no one telling you what to do, you do what needs to be done so you could grow, improve and impact others. There is no one telling you where to go or what to do. That is exactly the kind of integrity that is needed in business for you, or anyone to be successful. What rules have you set for yourself? Do you follow them even though no one is there to hold you accountable? That is true integrity.
There you have it, now you have a Black Belt in business. Not really, but you could take what you learn in this blog to apply it to your personal and professional life. Do it long enough, you will earn it! All you need to do is take these values, apply them in your everyday business practices and you could consider yourself a black belt in business.
If you are interested in seriously earning a black belt in business, living life personally and professionally with the listed values, you need to contact me ASAP. Empowered Mastery is holding a three day business & personal development retreat in September. More to follow on that.
All the best and cheers to your continued success. Remember, a black belt is not defined by what you could physically do, but who you are as a person and the values that you live by. Martial arts training is not limited to the mats, but in your life, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year and ultimately, a lifetime.
With gratitude and respect,
Chris Berlow otherwise known as Master Berlow resides in Mohegan Lake, NY with his wife Kathy, five children and three dogs. He owns, operates and still teaches at his Martial Arts School, United Martial Arts Centers in Briarcliff Manor, NY.
Chris is a co-author of, You Have Infinite Power, which he wrote with Rick Wollman, Nick Palumbo and Master Paul Melella of Empowered Mastery. He travels across the country with Empowered Mastery giving seminars and coaching individuals to live with passion and purpose. He additionally wrote a book called It’s Not About the Belt on how to take martial arts values and apply them to everyday life.
Chris is a dedicated martial artist and an avid outdoor enthusiast who enjoys mountain biking, snowboarding, hiking, running and anything that will get him outside in nature. He has committed his life to help everyone believe that they could achieve anything they set their mind to and use that positive mindset to live a more meaningful and fulfilled life.