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Pressure is a necessary thing. In nature diamonds are made from the pressure of the earth. In training it’s best to let the pressure push and enjoy where the ride takes you. But this isn’t easy everyday. Some days I don’t like or want any pressure as if I’ve gotten sick of stepping up the staircase of improvement. But I know this is a poor attitude; it is the fight I fight with myself and no one else. I am thankful for the pressure from Dr. Yang and the disciples to constantly be smarter and better than the day before. It is this pressure that makes us better martial artists and human beings.


Living at the retreat center fine tunes just how much it is up to the individual to accomplish goals. It’s more obvious here. In society it’s easier to find excuses and distractions and call them all “necessary.” Here there is no travel time, no cooking time (except for cooking days of course!), no family, no other people, no jobs, no hobbies…nothing but the schedule our group of 12 (about on any given day) is committed to.

Having discipline is a necessary part of being here. Discipline creates an environment for things to be accomplished. It is also about being true to yourself and your community. Even though it can be difficult to follow (we’re still human), discipline shouldn’t be placed on an elevated platform out of reach. Discipline comes down to habits. Everyone can take a minute to examine their habits and see ways of being more committed to improving their focus in life. Sometimes its the small things, like not picking your nose. Or maybe it’s something more obvious like not flicking the booger at your wife or kids. Replace the bad habits with good ones. Sometimes multiple steps are needed though. Instead of booger mayhem, save some money, go to the store, and buy a tissue box or handkerchief. Being disciplined is simply taking the required steps to make the improvements that are needed. I suppose you first have to be aware of your booger picking and flicking habit first though.

Discipline must not only be used to work smarter and harder, but also to know when to rest. This last week I had nasty sore throat and I found I had difficulty balancing work and rest. This was especially the case with an awesome Thanksgiving dinner last Thursday. Javi, Michelle, Nathan, and many others did an awesome job cooking and making it happen!

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Now is the time to stay focused though. That’s because we are getting close to the end of the 11th semester for the retreat center. One more week to train and stay healthy so we’re ready for testing the following week. It will be three, maybe four days of testing. It’s the time to really sink in, dig deep, keep our minds attentive because most injuries are from going back down the mountain, not climbing up.

I am looking forward to testing and am nervous as well. Thinking back to the previous testing session, we had to perform well at our mental and physical limits. It was an accomplishment as we saw improvements in ourselves. I feel similar now. There are somethings I have struggled with, like the mountain run. And other things like the logs I am more confident about. I know I still have lot more practicing to go though. The test is a step to the next step; there is always a way to improve.

Following the test we will spend a few days cleaning the center before winter break. Dr. Yang, Frank, and Javi and myself will be staying here. Everyone else is heading out.


2 Responses to “Enjoy the Pressure”

  1. Arvid Says:

    Thanks for sharing this, Kyle. I struggle with (poor) self discipline. You reminded me about the relationship with strength of character, integrity and focus. I am also a student (advanced care paramedic) and the desire to slack off on studies sometimes seems more seductive and desirable than diligence. I am using some of Dr. Yang’s DVDs as healthy distractions. This seems like an amazing program you are participating in. Thanks again to you as well as everyone with YMAA for sharing information and insight.

  2. admin Says:

    Not sure if you’re still reading, sorry to take so long to reply, but here it is anyway.

    We’re all human and we’re going to struggle and fall at times. It seems we just have to get back up and keep going. Thank you to for posting and sharing.

    Good luck with the advanced care paramedics, that can’t be an easy choice to pursue. Keep reading and always feel free to post more!

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