This Guest Post is by my friend, Mark Tankosich, who has dan rankings in both Sho-ha Shorin-ryu karate and Zen Nihon Kendo Renmei jodo. Along with the martial arts, his passions include the Japanese language. He currently lives and teaches in Hiroshima, Japan.
See his second post: Kansha.
I have been living in Japan for more than 13 years, but I continue to be a student of the American who has taught me karate since I was in college in the United States. I believe I've been his student for about 25 years or so now. Since this man, Sensei John Hamilton, lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, I don't get to see him very often. But, along with the training opportunities that come with my visits back to my hometown, I also get to practice with him when he visits me for a week each year here in Hiroshima. One of those visits took place just last week.
"The only way to judge yourself is against yourself. There will always be those who are not as skilled as you. Comparing yourself to them will only lead to arrogance and false pride. There will also always be those who are better than you. Comparing yourself to these people will only lead to frustration and depression. Judge yourself against yourself. Ask yourself, 'What was I yesterday? What am I today? What will I be tomorrow?'"