Monday, 31 August 2015

Focusing on the Goals not the Results Changes Everything!

I apologize for the length of time between posts. This Summer vacation has been particularly busy. In this post I would like to share with you something I experienced during this time.
I continue to learn so much from my experiences here in Japan, but now I am learning from people I never imagined I would when I first moved here in 2001. My 6 year old daughter continues to inspire, and amaze me (Pictured to the Left). Later in this post I will tell you something that she said that helped me put things into perspective.
One of the things I have been busy with this Year and in particularly this Summer has been preparing for the Chito-Ryu National Championships which was held on August 23rd in Kikuchi, Japan.

I began this year as many people do, by setting a new goal to pursue. Karate-do is a big part of my life and my involvement with the Ryu-ha and Bukatsudo keeps me very busy, but these past few years I have not had a personal goal to strive for. Therefore, I decided at the beginning of this year to compete in this tournament. Not to win, or beat anyone, or even prove myself to anyone, just to compete. These are perhaps the top three reasons why people compete in the beginning of a tournament career, but as we get older and gain more experience, inevitably, our reasons for competing change. This decision to compete was a very personal one and I considered my intentions to be pure and well placed. I simply wanted to live each day leading up to the tournament with purpose and in so doing get in better shape. Since I train everyday with the high school team I decided to focus on conditioning by running 3 kilometres as regularly as I could and spend more time stretching. As usual sometimes life got in the way and I had meetings that cut into my training time or I had to go and pick up the kids from daycare, but I was able to run almost every day, 3 days a week at the least. I felt my body change and the stretching after the run helped to reduce injury while training with the high school team. One thing I didn't do this time was focus on speed training in the last Month leading up to the competition. I will correct next time.

Now to the comment my daughter made while driving home from the Dojo the day before the competition. She asked me "what will change if I win and what will change if I loose?" This made me think. And the answer that I came up with made me laugh because the answer was obviously "nothing." Which I said to her. She then asked me to lose so that I could come home early to play with her in the park. This short conversation helped me to put things into perspective and brought a level of clarity to my training that had not been there previously. I had always felt like I needed to prove something to everyone when I competed, but really the only person I needed to prove anything to was myself. This time, with a different perspective I was able to do much better and learn a lot more. Nothing really changes with the win or the loss in the tournament itself, but rather with how we process that experience and deal with it. This time I knew that nothing would really change in my life either way; my children would still love and respect me for the man I am, my students would still be able to learn from me because I teach from my heart and I would grow as a result of the experience in a positive way because that is how I choose to process it. This lifted the pressure and burden from having to win and freed me from all the stress that comes with it.

The day of the competition I did not focus on winning at all, rather I put all of my attention toward warming up properly and giving the best performance I could give. my self talk was positive and I had confidence in my preparation knowing that all those days when I felt sore and tired but still ran the 3 K would pay off. 

I competed in individual Kata and individual Kumite -75kg (Above is a photo of Kata competition). In Chito-Ryu competing in both Kata and Kumite puts the athlete in the running for the grand champion, 総合優勝 Sougo Yusho in Japanese. I had been so focused on this when I was competing in the past that it clouded my perspective and negatively influenced my performance. This time I had no expectations of winning at 37 years of age and after a 5 year absence from competition I somewhat expected to loose early and go home to play in the park with my daughter. The results however, were far better than I had expected. By taking my focus off winning or beating anyone I was able to internalize better and focus on what I needed to do to prepare and perform. Even though I was not completely content with my performance the results were a 1st place finish in Kata and a 3rd place finish in Kumite giving me the best overall record among the individual male competitors and the grand championship.
(14th All Japan Chito-Ryu Champioships Male and female Grand Champions)

Reflecting on this experience I believe that the 5 year absence from competition strengthened my challenger's mindset leading up to and during competition, but my years of experience enabled me to take a very professional approach as well. This combination of a challenger's and professional approach leads to success. I think it is important to apply the lessons we learn from our Karate-do training in our daily lives and I think the lesson that I learned from this experience has far reaching implementations. Tournament Karate may not be for everyone and I would not recommend only tournament Karate all the time, but setting goals, living with purpose and using the avenues available to us to grow and learn is what we all must do in and out of the Dojo.

Thank you for your continued support. My next major goal is an academic one. In October I will be coordinating and performing in a Karate-do Demonstration at the Asian Conference on Education (ACE) 2015 in Kobe, Japan  as well as presenting a paper that I am working on titled Finding a Place for Karate-do in Mainstream Education. If accepted after a peer review, this paper will be published in the conference proceedings. I believe that Karate-do provides unique opportunities to students of all ages that can have a very positive impact in areas such as self-confidence, health and fitness, manners, and the ability to pay attention to detail which combined could impact academic performance. I would like to conduct more detailed studies in the future to accumulate data on the impacts of Karate-do on students' performance. I will keep you posted on how things develop. But, in the meantime, here is the description that can be found on the iafor website, for more information please visit the website

ACE2015: Featured Karate and Power Demonstration

nishioka dojo
The conference theme of power and empowerment is explored in this karate display from expert teachers and students from Osaka’s Nishioka Dojo, who practice the Chito-Ryu form of the Japanese martial art.
Chito-Ryu traces its ancestry back to old Chinese martial arts of the Tang dynasty (618-907AD). Later, these martial arts that were brought to Okinawa from Fukien Province, China were passed on through the diligence and thoroughness of many past masters. Chitose Tsuyoshi (O Sensei) mastered the spirit and techniques of To-de which possesses a rich history and long tradition.
Furthermore, O Sensei studied the various forms of Okinawa Te. One discipline, which originated in Shuri City, a town of nobles and Samurai, was called Shuri no Te (首里の手). In recent years Shuri no Te has become known as Shorin-Ryu (小林流). The second discipline, which originated in Naha City, a commercial town, was called Naha no Te (那覇の手). In recent years Naha no Te has become known as Shorei-Ryu (昭霊流).O Sensei assimilated the essence of these so that he could enhance To-de among the Japanese martial arts. In addition, the present day Chito-Ryu style of Karate Do also incorporates a sound medical, physiological and scientific base in order to foster health in all, especially youth and the elderly.
This introduction and demonstration will be directed by Sensei Waterfield, Sensei Yagi and Sensei Nishioka.

marc waterfield karate

Sensei Marc Waterfield

ACE2015 Featured Karate Demonstration

5th Degree Black Belt Master Instructor & Chief Liaison of the Public Relations Division
All Japan Chito-Ryu Karate Do Federation

Marc Waterfield (5th Degree Black Belt, Master Instructor, Chito-Ryu Karate Do) is Chief Liaison of the Public Relations Division for the All Japan Chito-Ryu Karate Do Federation and Coach of the Buntoku Senior High School Karate Do Team. He currently holds the rank of Go Dan, 5th Degree Black Belt and the title of Shihan, Master Instructor and was the youngest non-Japanese ever to attain this level at the age of 33. Marc began practicing Chito-Ryu Karate Do at the age of 10 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada and had a successful competitive career, competing Provincially, Nationally and Internationally. Marc has represented Canada and Japan in International competition and has been living and working in Kumamoto Japan since 2001. During this time he received his M.A. TESOL from Kumamoto University (2008) and accumulated a great deal of work experience in the education system first as a scholarship exchange student at Hokkaido university of Education (1999~2000) then as an ALT on the JET Programme in Nishigoshi Town/Koshi City (2001~2008) and as a full-time teacher at Buntoku Senior High School (2008~Present). Marc is experienced in the unique Japanese approach to education and sport known as Bunburyodou which is a concept of combining the principles of Bushido, the Martial Way with education and is grounded in developing the character sets of courtesy, respect for one another and determination to achieve one’s goals.

Toshio Yagi

Sensei Toshio Yagi

ACE Featured Karate Demonstration

6th Degree Black Belt Expert Instructor
All Japan Chito-Ryu Karate Do Federation

Born in 1948 in Tokyo, Japan, Toshio is the former President and Director of MITSUI SUMITOMO INSURANCE Claims Adjusting Company, Limited and former Auditor for Tokyo Tomin Bank, Limited. Toshio began practicing Karate Do as a young man. He has studied and holds Dan Rank various styles such as Shotokan, Shito-Ryu, and Chito-Ryu Karate Do. He is currently practicing Chito-Ryu Karate Do and Kobudo, Weapons regularly. Toshio is currently a consultant advising the following companies: Uchiyama Loss Adjusting Co., Ltd., Best Solution Inc., T.F.K Inc., and the Promotions Planner for Shimamoto Insurance Co., Ltd.

hiroshi nishioka

Sensei Hiroshi Nishioka

ACE Featured Karate Demonstration

5th Degree Black Belt Master Instructor
All Japan Chito-Ryu Karate Do Federation

Hiroshi Nishioka (5th Degree Black Belt, Master Instructor, Chito-Ryu Karate Do) is the Head Instructor of Nishioka Dojo located in Izumisano City, Osaka, Japan. He began practicing Karate Do in 1983 under the guidance of Shimoida Sensei. In the summer of 2000 Hiroshi placed 3rd at the Chito-Ryu National Karate Do Championships earning him a place on the Japanese National Team. In 2003 Hiroshi retired from competition to focus on developing his Dojo. In 2007 the Nishioka Dojo was built and in 2013 a large team of junior and senior athletes competed in the Chito-Ryu World Karate Do Championships (Soke Cup) Held that year in Hong Kong. (The championships is held once every three years and the next championships will be held in 2016 in Kumamoto, Japan) Of the athletes representing Nishioka Dojo 4 wond Gold medals at the Hong Kong Championships. These athletes are honored to perform for you today.


  1. Very inspirational article Marc. Thanks for sharing this experience. Congrats on taking the Grand Championship, you earned it. Now go play in the park with your kids.

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