After Mr. Miyagi showed up in Daniel’s life in The Karate Kid, a lot of people started showing up in the dojo where I was training wanting something. I remember the surge of excitement and energy that happened when classes that had maybe 6 or seven students before suddenly had 20 eager white belts ready to wax on/wax off. Where did all these people come from and what got them in the room learning how to punch and kick? If you asked them I’m sure they would have said it was hard to name exactly but getting into shape sounded good and Mr. Miyagi’s cultivated gardens and beautifully restored classic cars looked more deeply appealing than just tighter abs or bigger biceps.

Maybe it was a life plan. Something they hoped might shift them out of the commuting/office life they were in and into something filled with more…purpose, meaning, intention.

But after a few weeks or months many of those people stopped coming. Disenchanted with the demands. The routine of it. Sore muscles, sweat, bumps, bruises, instructors yelling, eager but clumsy fellow students, pressure applied and relieved over and over again. What happened to clipping Bonsai trees and taking down Cobra Kai?

Understanding the value of having deep training and practice in your life takes time. It’s not something you’ll discover in a day.

Think of anything you’ve done for more than a year that feels difficult or uncomfortable at times. You start with a purpose or intent but then reality steps in and you are forced to confront obstacles both internal and external. You are forced to consider what you started out with and decide if it’s “worth it”. If you do, you know it will change you. If you don’t, well, you know what that looks like too. So there you are with your intention and your obstacles.

Same old you.

So what should you do?

If you are 60 years old or more with bad knees, a bad back and heart problems you can do it.

If you are 17, feeling purposeless and wondering what’s next for you, you can do it.

If you think you can’t, you’re wrong.

Come try it. Then, don’t stop.

You decide. Then you show up.

Then you keep showing up.

And then, one day, you start thinking about how nice a Bonsai might look next to your desk.