To Be Or Not To Be … In Control

by  Alan Kandel

I know little about many things. I know much about very few things. One thing I do know is that in life, exercise control.

In the world of sales (yes, I did this too - my first job and then later on in life), I learned that if I could get in front of the buyer or the buyer's designate in the buyer's absence, then that was half the battle right there. Moreover, if the product that I was peddling (in this case advertising space in a magazine) could be seen as something that had value, then chances are, I would make the sale.

In this role, I also had to be a good listener. As a trainee, even before I became adept enough to go it alone, I was versed on the ins and outs of selling: I call it Sales 101. And speaking about listening, my boss (and mentor) was so adept at selling, I remember the time he spoke before a room full of real estate agents. So captivating and mesmerizing was his message, and so precise was his delivery, he had every ear in the house tuned in to what he was saying. That was how amazing to me the experience was. The long and short of it is that my boss maintained complete control. Needless to say, deals were closed with the bulk of the agents.

In this line of work as in life itself, one has to be in control, obviously. The same is true for martial arts practice.

However, being in control isn’t always easy. Here’s a simple yet good illustration.

Summers in Baltimore, Maryland (where I grew up and where I received my initial karate instruction) can be trying. High temperatures and high humidity levels made karate practice that much harder.

At times during the summers, it was not uncommon for temperatures to be in the mid 90s with 95 percent humidity. And that was inside the dojo! At any rate, I recall during one training session I was sweating profusely. The students were instructed to get into kiba dachi (a horse-riding stance) and this position had to be maintained for an extended period of time. Good luck with this I must have thought as my gi (karate uniform) had become sopping wet with sweat, the excess winding up on the floor below. The training facility in this case was a school cafeteria and, I might add, the floor had tile.

Imagine legs extended sideways, and with each passing second, the whole body inching ever closer to the ground. I did and everyone else in class did their level best to keep from doing full side leg splits or becoming one with the floor. Holding stance was tough enough, even without the sweat. What kept me and my cohorts from losing it as it were was, you guessed it, control, that and persistence and focus.

Situation well under control? You bet!

Food for thought: There is no way to navigate one’s way through life and not be in control. It'd be like trying to grow crops without their being fed water.

Copyright Alan Kandel. May 30, 2012.

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