Finding Your Feet

Doug TjadenEducate, Principles0 Comments

There are many reasons why only one out of ten thousand people who begin martial arts training obtain their black belt. One of them is that good instructors relentlessly drill their students until they “find their feet.” That is because unless you are solid and balanced on your feet, nothing else that follows matters. Now… there is a life principle worth understanding.

The challenge is that finding your feet takes time. It takes patience. It takes commitment. Combine that with the fact that the first time you walk into the training studio to strap on your white belt, you probably see second and third degree black belts throwing spinning tornado kicks and striking BOB right on the ear.

I remember well my first lesson. We were all told to line up so we could go through the drills for our specific belts. Surely I thought, we would all get to watch the black belts go through their exercises. You learn from the experts right?

As it turns out, no…

We lined up in rows. White belts in the back. Then yellow belts in front of them. Orange in front of them, then green, blue, brown, red, and finally black. Wait what? From the back row you couldn’t hardly see the black belts as they did their drills. What I soon learned is, that is how it is supposed to be.

That’s because those the next level up from you are your teacher. You must next master what they are doing before you even THINK about the next level, or the level after that. So as a white belt, together we did VERY basic stances, steps, and punches – for months. Ugh.


My daughter and I early in training and learning to find our feet!

For those that persevere however, by the time you reach green belt you begin to “get” it. As the moves become more difficult to execute it clicks. It’s all about your feet – your foundation. You understand why you’ve spent months learning how to find and keep your feet while you are in motion because your opponent is moving as well and in ways that are difficult to predict. If you lose your feet, you will quickly find yourself being struck by your opponent, or stumbling from your own poor balance.

So, what does all of this have to do with the Great American Reset? Well… everything.

First of all, you are going to have to navigate a geopolitical, economic, and cultural environment that will be in motion in ways that are difficult to predict. So, in this context finding your “feet” includes:

  • Knowing the transcendent principles that govern your life, and the origin of those principles.
  • Being able to “move” within the construct of those principles as you live day-to-day.
  • Identifying your non-negotiables. This is where you define a bright red line and say, “Beyond this you cannot pass without consequence.”

To successfully navigate what is coming, you, your family, and those you are in close relationship with need to know where your “feet” are at all times. Only then will you be able to move with confidence, recognize when your opponent is attempting to cross your red line, and take appropriate action.

Achieving a black belt was an amazing feeling (especially being 52 years old). It has taught me the importance of finding your feet in any aspect of life. I’m not perfect at it, but it certainly helps me to stay grounded when life gets a little crazy.

In future articles I will discuss how to identify your transcendent principles, your non-negotiables, and what it may look like to move, counter punch, and go on the offense while multiple opponents are trying aggressively to cross your red line.

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All the best,


(photo credit “Anthony“)