Getting started...it's all about the first step!
In his 1988 book Stephen Covey determined that one of the habits of highly effective people was to start with the end in mind. Knowing the destination and having a vision is fundamental, what's the point in engaging in a journey unless there's a destination? Or is that indeed the point, is the journey all that is required? Does there need to be a destination?
Knowing that you want to do, or want to have something is absolutely key. Knowing that there are indicators to your success is indeed key to achieving that success. Understanding the end point is fundamental to determining the route to take, though the first step is absolutely the most important.
In martial arts, and personal wellbeing, there is no end point. Neither can be considered a journey with a final destination, as both are subjects of continual development. The achievement of a grade, or a specific fitness goal, is fundamental to assessing progress and measuring development. This achievement however provides nothing more than the foundation for the next step, achievement of the next goal, the next grade or the refinement of that already attained. The focus is therefore on the process, on the journey.
That first step...before we get too far away from it...is absolutely fundamental. The selection of the right martial art class, the right instructor, the right gym is the difference between lifelong learning and being put off for life. Our philosophy has always been to recognise that no one knows if they will "fit" immediately. Whilst first impressions do count, and a lot is to be gained by listening to instinct, we also need to recognise that it takes time to understand if we "fit". The initial step is often one filled with a sense of optimism and hope which, when the novelty begins to fade, can disappear. Without a clarity of purpose (that focus which comes from understanding our goal...yeah ok Mr Covey that end is important after all!) and feeling that this is shared, valued and supported by those around, optimism and good feelings will only get us so far.
This is the foundation for Renegade Martial Arts approach to providing a free trial for all beginners. We aren't cynically devaluing ourselves to attract a volume of newbies, all hanging out for the next bargain. We completely believe and value that everyone has different needs, values and goals. We equally believe that by taking the time to allow people to understand our values, what we can offer them and what they will need to undertake to do too, we will cement a stronger relationship which underpins a journey which will last a lifetime.
So thanks Mr Covey for pointing out that where we need to go is important. Unless you get your foot on that road though, it doesn't matter how clear that end is...you're not going to get any closer.