Martial Arts and Your Potential

Dan Couzens Martial Arts Explored

Dan Couzens Martial Arts Bristol Bushido

The World is Full of Options

We live in a world full of potentiality, and you are a human being which means it is possible for you to see and then adapt in such a way as to grab the opportunity.

Martial Arts is Full of Options.

Choosing the right one is essentially down to what potentiality you wish to pursue.

At the Bristol Bushido Dojo, we have some priorities when it comes to the pursuit of martial arts. We have a way of going about business. One of our priorities is Standards.

Standards – The actual technical and athletic ability of the martial arts practitioner is just the beginning. Standards are also about attitude.

Currently, the Olympics are well underway. There can be no doubt that an Olympian is a highly focused, highly motivated individual.

Still, at this level of competition, competitors have negatively affected, hindered and even destroyed their opportunity with moments of poor decision making before they get the chance to compete. Boozing, doping, social media rants, etc. Controversy is an ever present factor at the Olympics. Maybe this is because winning is highly important and at the highest levels, improvement is very hard to make. Every four years an opportunity presents itself for greatness, for recognition, for dizzying heights of achievement, to make a country proud, to lay your mark in the annals of Olympic history.

“What You Do Outside the Dojo, Effects What You Do Inside the Dojo”


We have a saying in Bushido “what you do outside the dojo effects what you do inside the dojo”. Your performance in any given discipline is affected by everything else you do. With an Olympian, this is clear to see. Physical conditioning, rest, nutrition & recovery. Visualisation, positive thinking, mental clarity, skill development and timing peak performance. These are full-time jobs they are about prioritising your life to meet your goals. When all these factors combine to produce a moment of peak performance at the right time, then it’s all worth it. Inspiring millions to go higher, faster, stronger. The next generation witnesses greatness and plots their potential future and a few, some years from now will live their dream and win gold, and so the tradition continues.

The Sensei’s Task

The higher grades job is to train to such a level they inspire. Inspiration is the best teacher of discipline there is. With inspiration comes both a feeling and a vision of a great future but more than this, it infuses the moment with a passion which increases the feeling quality of your life. The projected future provides us with a picture we want to paint. The past provides the instructions. The moment is where all the action takes place.

The instructors at the Bristol Dojo will let inspiration in from anywhere, not just martial arts. We strive to emulate learn from and apply what the greats of the world are teaching us.

With a student who is in full-time work and has many important priorities in life, we have to work out what we can do to make them the best they can be in their chosen discipline.

The 1st is by ensuring that the teachers in the Bristol Dojo are pushing their abilities. I don’t know who said this, but I like it.

“You cant give what you don’t have“.

The instructors cannot teach you anything unless they are applying it themselves and developing all the abilities necessary to be a great martial artist and a great martial arts teacher. Two very different skills. The task is without question daunting, and as I mentioned in my last post, we will fail a bit. The important thing is we are growing, and I can see week in week out that all the black belts of the Bristol Dojo are unquestionably growing and developing. I set the standards deliberately high because low standards are easy to achieve. If you want ease, then you give up your chance for greatness, you abandon your chance to express your unique talents. When you step up to the plate and achieve, your capacity for achievement increases. There is a formula. Warrior-ship is about harnessing the type of mindset which is up to the challenge of working out the formula.

Take Small Steps

Take small steps consistently.  Consistent small steps eventually add up to a long distance travelled.  I have no expectations of any of my students including the black belts. I cannot see the challenges of their lives. Only they can. From my experience, I see that people on some level already know what to do. We need inspiration and when it comes we need to let in and try not to block the direction it’s pointing. Inspiration is when you are truly listening to yourself. Listening to what you want to do with your life. The best times in life are when we feel alive. To do this, we just need to make sure we are filling our life with moments of connection.

Dan Couzens