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Something Old, Something New

posted Sep 30, 2011, 4:52 PM by Eric Banks   [ updated Jan 15, 2016, 10:31 AM ]

Between saying and doing, many a pair of shoes is worn out.

Iris Murdoch



Because my current uniform is growing more and more tattered with each practice, I decided it was time to buy a new one.  Yep, my Juka Silver uniform, first purchased in early 1997, carries a few holes and friction-frays and is threadbare in spots; it’s discolored from sweat, blood and dirt, but it’s still usable; with a little sewing and some delicate care, it still has many years of good training in it.  It’s aged quite well, but most importantly, it’s comfortable.  Because it’s been through so much, it is downright pleasant to wear; my new uniform, on the other hand, one that I’ve yet to actually train in, is, uh, not so user-friendly…yet…  I fully intend to wear the current, comfortable gi until its durable material surrenders and disintegrates, and at the same time, I’m gonna enjoy breakin’ the new one in.


It’s interesting how most of us love that new car smell, the look of a new pair of shoes, or the feel of a crisp pair of jeans and, in some cases, we go to great lengths to take care of these item, but what’s even more interesting is the fact that once a certain point is reached, that care wanes, quickly, and virtually disappears.  But then, sometime later still, a new enjoyment of the object, and a new comfort, is found, and those old things, those well-worn possessions, become trophies, signs of experience and sturdy craftsmanship, and those objects, those inanimate things, gain a new sense of respect and loyalty from their owners.  I mean, who among us doesn’t admire a shredded and tattered black belt?  Who here doesn’t own an old, beat-up pair of shoes, or a used-up robe, or a pair of pants or a shirt or sweatshirt that is just too holey to wear in public?  We all have these things somewhere.  Heck, I know a certain person who kept a container of cookies for nearly 20 years, just because they were old!  


Yes, these old things begin to take on a life all their own, driven by the comfort they provide to and for their owners, so much so, that I’m sure many people will never replace some of those worn-out items.  Nothing wrong with that, right?  Well…here we go…  Yes and no; comfort in itself isn’t a bad thing, it’s a great thing, in fact, and as soon as I get out of bed in the mornings, I long for that cozy comfort again, BUT, I GET OUT OF BED and go into the uncomfortable world to do what I’m here for.  That’s the key.  We can’t let comfort, aka, our “comfort zone” keep us from doing what we need to do, and being what we need to be.  Still, one must understand that departing the comfort zone and trying or doing something new, or something scary, or something unpleasant will not be easy, it’ll be hard, it may take and tax everything within you and then some, but it will be worth it, and if nothing else, you’ll learn things about yourself you never before knew or understood.  

So, what is your old and comfortable zone, the cozy way of thinking and being that keeps you from experiencing something new adventures and becoming who you really are?  Isn’t it time you begin the journey to exit that zone and step toward the greater unknown? 


Live well, train smart, train hard.