by Sensei Jonathan Hewitt – Founder of Life Ki-do
The Joy and Dance of Kickboxing:
Let me explain.
The other night in our Teen/Adult class after more than 25 years of martial arts training and over 20 years of teaching full time, I experienced a deep joy and dance while we were doing some of our kickboxing curriculum (footwork, evasions, punches, kicks, shadow sparring and light sparring).
I grew up extremely competitive and in a very competitive community. All I knew was win or lose. I had to beat the other guy to prove myself and feel validated. This conditioning had colored so much of what I had done in my life and even though I won the trophies and other accolades, I was lacking joy and fulfillment.
Then over 20 years ago, I began a very dedicated meditation practice and began seeing life from a very different perspective, much more about connecting than competing. As my inner joy and fulfillment increased, I began to lose my interest in martial arts and saw it as the antithesis of connection. Fortunately I didn’t give it up and about 8 years ago I was introduced to Systema, which is very much about breath, fluidity and connection. Systema has helped transform my martial arts experience and my life in general but I still didn’t see how I could be fluid and connected when sparring or doing wrestling/BJJ. This was the first time I truly experienced joy and connection as if I was a dancer celebrating love, connection and life.
Thank you to our amazing students and fellow instructors for helping me to always be a white belt and know that there is no end to the amount of growth I can experience.
More insight, wisdom, and self-awareness from another of our graduating seniors – Zach Rahmes.
“I feel very much at peace when I am at the dojo. Martial arts aren’t the most important thing we learn through the Life Ki-do program. I have learned mutual trust and respect – the most valuable things I can give to someone, and the most valuable thing that I possess. To me, the connections that I form with other people are what give my life its meaning and purpose. This is why I love my dojo so dearly. More than any other place on earth, it fulfills me.”
Congratulations Zach! Your dedication to being present and being your personal best every moment of training is truly an inspiration. We know your presence and genuine connection with others will bring you fulfillment wherever you go.
“I don’t care if you can smash a brick with your bare hands…the single most important teaching is being able to breathe and be aware of it”
Marshall Walston has trained with us for 12 years! Congratulations Marshall on your high school graduation! We will miss you.
The following is from Marshall’s Black Belt Test essay:
I said years ago that the one that has helped me the most through this world is Ninja Breathing. 12 years ago this idea was brought to my mind, to find my center. I still believe to this day that the single most important teaching of this place I call a second home, is being able to breathe and be aware of it; to take that breathing and live authentically with it. Life is a game that we play, and we are playing against ourselves. The one who lives it feeling fulfilled at the end of day wins.
I’ll see you star side.”
If you weren’t able to attend our Black Belt test last Saturday, it was truly an amazing and inspiring event, with hundreds of our families joining together to support and celebrate some amazing young students. We not only honored and tested our 2 Black Belt students, Marshall Walston and Zach Majors, but also several other students who all tested for some of our highest belts.
Here is a fantastic video of the event shot by Gil Garcia, a parent of one of our students!
We also encourage you to check out an amazing essay by one of our two Black Belt students, Zach Majors! Read that here!