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Why Not Me?

Nathan Kelly, my black belt student, fought and won in Madison Square Garden New York City on Friday night.

Now if you’d told me that Nate would do that when he was just a skinny 13 year old kid on my mats all those years ago… I’d have said yes, I would not have been surprised. I would have said, yep, sounds about right.

I mean, why not? Why not him? Why not anyone? It’s a matter of some natural talent, sure, but I’ve seen more talent walk out the door than stay. So that’s not the determining factor.

Hard work, dedication, a willingness to change and adapt, but I think, more importantly, belief.

In honour of that, I gave my teens class a little talk for 3 minutes or so on Saturday morning. I’ve been giving variations on this chat to everyone for over a decade, so I’m sorry if it bores you now.

Here it is, more or less.

Why not me?

That’s what you have to ask yourself. I don’t have the answer. You have to do the answers. Do them in your head now or think about them for a week. Write them down on paper and really give them a good ponder.

You could say It Will Be Me, which is fine too. But very few people can say that and really know it. If you’re asking questions of yourself, it’s hard to really believe that deep down. We all have doubts.

So, someone is going to win the Irish Open this year. Ask yourself- Why not me? There’ll be a division with maybe 10 people in it. What divides the guy who goes out in the first round from the guy who stands on the top of the podium? Not much. You know that matches come down to small errors or small advantages.

So ask, Why not me?

Someone in this room is going to be a Black Belt someday. I hope everyone will. Look at the black belts who coach you. Do you think we are special people? Gifted? Talented? We’re not, and we weren’t.

So, someone is going to be a Black Belt, Why not me?

Always ask yourself that question. And you might answer- I can’t because I’m too weak, too skinny, too fat, too stupid, not good enough. But every one of those answers is changeable in time and with effort. As are most of the things you can say about yourself. And if it’s not changeable it’s adaptable. That’s the glory of Jiu Jitsu, we don’t all have to look the same or have the same style. It changes to suit us.

Why not me? Why can't I be the one?

People will always tell you to believe in yourself, but you can’t do that until you have hard evidence! And the hard evidence I’m going to give you today is that the people who you think are ahead of you are only ahead of you by a tiny percentage, and with enough hard work and dedication, you’ll overtake them. But you need to believe that.

You’d have to ask Nathan himself but I know he always asked some variation of Why Not Me, and he sat in this same class at your age.

So that's your homework for the week. Ask yourself that question. And if you can come up with a really good answer, talk to me, because I've never heard one.

See you on the mat,


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