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Simple Lessons:

Short, concise lessons and concepts helpful to students and teachers

Kaizen – The Path of Constant and Never Ending Improvement

By Terry Bryan

The civilian lives in a world that edifies mediocrity. He spends his time playing computer games and when he loses, he just hits replay to try again. He watches TV where the person dies and next week guess what, he is back on the screen again. Instead of taking personal responsibility, he looks to blame others, society or the government for his problems.

The warrior, on the other hand, understands the concept of one encounter, one chance. He knows that in a life and death encounter, there is no second place. He never takes these things lightly, and would never engage in a situation where he is not assured victory. He believes in the saying, “If it is to be, it is up to me.”

He constantly strives to increase his abilities and his understanding of the obstacles around him. He believes that there is truth to the statement that you are either getting better or you are getting worse all the time, and therefore works everyday to improve mentally, physically and spiritually. This concept is not trying to be better than someone else, but that you are improving a little every day.

Kaizen is the Japanese word for constant and never ending improvement. In our quest for black belt excellence, there is no time off. This is a 24/7 endeavor. If you witness senior students and instructors they are always working on improving their mind, body and spirit. Winners feel they are destined for success and are constantly trying to grow and prepare for that goal. Successful people constantly read and listen to positive and inspirational books and tapes. They know that by reading 30 minutes every day, within a few years they will be in the top 10% of their chosen field. In the dojo, they give it all they have every class, forging their spirit and attitude.

The Chinese say that a journey of 1000 miles begins with one step. Kaizen
is all about making that step towards improvement, everyday – in every

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About the Author:

Terry Bryan is the former General Secretary for the USA-NKF (National Karate Federation), the official governing body for the sport of karate with the US Olympic Committee. He currently is the Executive Director for the American Black Belt Academy, a 501c3 non-profit organization located in Colorado Springs. His column, Simple Lessons, regularly appears on

To find more articles of interest, search on one of these keywords:

martial arts training, martial arts philosophy, spirit

Read more articles by Terry Bryan

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