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The way we think about strength is shown in the mission statement of our school: “Building strength in mind, body and spirit.”

There are three aspects to being strong.

Physical strength in a combative situation is important. Sometimes strength can compensate for technique. It is very helpful in martial arts to have a strong body. This is why push-ups aren’t punishment; they’re something that’s good for you!

Mental strength, however, is even more important. Even though I am not as physically capable as I was when I was young, my mental strength has only increased. My confidence, experience, and savviness make me a more formiddable fighter than ever. Physical strength being equal, mental character separates between two opponents.

However, strength of spirit is paramount. If you don’t have spiritual strength, nothing else matters. I am not trying just to bring up my own religious beliefs, but it is vital that you have a sense of peace with yourself and with your purpose in the world. Figuring this out can avoid a lot of conflict in life. I try to live my life through my beliefs. Actions speak louder than words, and I try to life according to the values I have. It’s important for you to do the same.

Think of these three aspects of strength as the three legs of a stool. Without all three, things get out of balance—and real strength requires balance.

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