Wednesday 25 July 2012

Do. Or Do Not. There Is No Try.

Try your best! You can only TryTry, Try, Try again ! A veritable library of inspirational quotations accompany this mantra. Yet it seems only sensible to adhere to this advice. For if we try then perhaps we’ll succeed ? Well maybe.But would you really leave your life to chance? To the hope that your trying would yield a profit, a net gain, an end result. Wicklow based martial artist Alan Ellis thinks differently.
Ellis in quoting Tom Callos of The 100 Project, echo’s the statement ” Nothing Nets Nothing” . Or more commonly put ” You only get out what you put in”
After a lifetime in the practice and teaching of martial arts Ellis is adamant that nothing takes the place of hard work.
“ Persistence is the key. I’ve seen many talented martial artists who could not develop the discipline to have consistency in their work” states Ellis.
Ellis has taught literally hundred of students over the past twenty years, producing black belts and champions from his base in Wicklow.The experience has led him to the conclusion that those who succeed do so because of a mindset based on a personal tenacity. 
“Society has encouraged the culture of try. Children are encouraged to “try your best”. On the face of its an admirable philosophy but one that Ellis feels will ultimetly lead to non achievement.
” We are in an era of the “everyone’s a winner” mentality, remarks Ellis.” Nowadays if every child at a competition or belt ranking test does not come home with a medal, trophy or belt they are upset and parents grumble.
While we all want what’s best for our child Ellis believes that handing it to a child ”on a plate” only gives a false sense of accomplishment and neglects to teach the rich lessons of the martial arts.
“Children are naturally competitive, inqusitive and very much open to learning”  ”Martial arts teaches should and must respect this and guide the child in understanding that real effort, dedication and tenacity will ultimetly reap rewards”
“Of course you have to try says Elllis ” “But that should go without saying and not be the consolation speech for a child who has not prepared properly for an event such as a grade test or competition”
Ellis believes that the lessons learned in planned , methodical preparation for an event are invaluable lessons for any child.
At his Motivational Martial Arts school in Wicklow Ellis employs the Empty Cup Curricuum philosophy. 
” Each child is treated as an individual. Of course some basics are shared by all but in general I design the curriculum around the individual.
The policy applies to adult students also.
Ellis is dismayed by the casual methods employed by some martial ars schools in awarding grade rank.
“Without meaning to be overly critical of others in the martial arts world I recently saw a school advertise an upcoming grade test whereby students were advised to contact the school in advance and book their grade.This was advertised on the club’s Facebook page”
“Students were told to contact the club if they (the students) felt that they wanted to go to the next level” ( and what students wouldn’t!)
” A not unsubstantial fee was advised “
The post appeared a few days prior to the test. 
Ellis feels that this attitude is typical of a loss of value in grade rank and of general accomplishment. In trying to address this in his school Ellis has returned to a more traditional approach.
“A student should not be allowed to decide if he or she is ready for the grade test. This is the prerogative and responsibility of the instructor” states Ellis.
While trying is of course laudable and necessary, hard work, commitment,dedication, perserverence and tenacity trump it.
Alan Ellis is available for group and private tuition for adults and children. He is happy to offer a free trial period at his school so as you can see his philosophies in action and see how his Motivational Martial Arts can help you.
He can be contacted on 089-4567533 email

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