Patience is something thing that I have struggled with throughout my youth. I was always on the move, always active and always in a hurry, I would eat fast, I would walk and talk fast. At the end of the day, I would collapse in a heap, rest where I could and redo it all again the next day.

Now I think we all know this is not sustainable.  If I think back the way I operated daily,

I created the perfect storm in how I would get frustrated and impatient when day to day tasks didn’t move as quickly as I did.

No matter how much fussing and complaining I did, it didn’t help speed up the process, in fact it actually made the whole situation worse because now I was frustrated and fed up which would then spill over into different areas of my day that had nothing to do with the frustration in the first place arrrggghhhhhh.

I took me until after I achieved my black belt to appreciate the process and enjoy the journey. For example, after black belt it took a MINIMUM of 1 year before I was allowed to attempt my first dan. Again, when aiming for second dan it was minimum 2 years and then 3 years for 3rd dan etc.

I achieved my black belt in 1997 and now I’m on my way to achieving my 6th dan which I have been 8 years as a 5th dan Remember minimum 6 years before I am given permission to attempt to grade.

I had a recent experience with my own son Taj, who has been training since he was 3 and is now 14 this year. He is attempting his junior black belt and has just joined the Grading preparation class about a month ago.

Mock grading was run, and he did well, well enough he could have graded for his black belt at the next grading and done a GOOD ENOUGH JOB to pass. I chatted with sensei Andrew and reviewed Taj and a few of the other kids looking to attempt their black and recommended that they wait until June grading.

Now the reason for the delay wasn’t that he and others would perform poorly, it’s because we knew they could be so much better.

I’m often reminded of a quote that was said to me OVER AND OVER when I was younger, and here I am saying it to my kids and students.

“Enjoy the journey not just the destination”

When I got home, we chatted about the decision to set the goal to grade for June not March, we talked about the level he was at and the process of really having the time to master and own the skills he needed to perform when grading came around. I reminded him that there are levels inside of him that he hasn’t even started to unlock yet but with a little bit of PATIENCE and trust in the process he will achieve more than he had ever thought possible. 

He appreciated the chat and understood where we, as his mentors and instructors, were coming from. He is now looking at June grading which will give him the chance to refine his skills and really own what he needs to perform on grading day.

Again, I’m reminded of a saying that has become clearer in meaning as the years have passed

“To wear a black belt and to be a black belt are not the same thing”

I know that the conscious act of using patience and lessons needed to be gained from this act can often be difficult to find or appreciate because they are usually stuck between frustration, disappointment, anger, sadness, the list goes on.

Only when you have a moment to reflect can you see the lessons that need to be unpacked from the experience you have just had – good, bad or indifferent.

I’d like to hear from you guys about how a moment of patience has benefited you or your family, a friend, a colleague, a total stranger,who ever.

I’d love to hear the story and the lessons or benefit that came out of the encounter. 

Don’t forget it’s always nice to share your experiences with others as your stories might be just what they need to hear that day.

Feel free to post in the LIFE members group or email the team at

Much respect

Kyoshi Graham

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