The only thing that’s real


I find I’m asking myself that question the last while. Why run, why press, why strike. Why? Getting through the winter months this year was tough. Dark skies, cold, cloudiness, and just dark, all the time. Going to work during the dark, heading home during the dark.

When I started karate almost 10 years ago I was really motivated. I was finally doing what I have wanted to for years but never did, for many reasons. I was starting the journey to become a black belt. A lofty goal it seemed because not everyone makes it. Many fail on the journey to achieve this goal. But I wasn’t going to. It’s not in me. It wasn’t always that way.

I’ve done many things in my life so far. I don’t think I’ve backed away from anything that I had the opportunity to do. I enlisted in the Canadian Navy years ago and was always at the top of my class. I was the first person in 8 years to make a cross lap joint out of rough lumber to a finished product with all sides perfectly square, and all angles at a perfect 90 degrees. All done by hand, no power tools. This joint I made was put into a cabinet to remain there forever. It might even still be there. Who knows.

I had the opportunity to become a ships diver, a member of an elite group with a drop out rate of 70%. I remember being accepted for the course and being scared sh*tless. I heard so many stories some of them true and I’m sure some of them not. I came close to not going. So many questions in my head, so much fear. But that was not me. I told myself I have to do it. I trained for about 8 months to get ready for this course. A good friend of my at the time, George, helped me to get into better shape for this course. I new I had to be prepared.

And I did. I learned a lot about myself during that course. I learned what I was able to accomplish. 2 mile swim every morning, followed by a 5 mile run. Diving during the day, diving at night. More running, more swimming. I finished the course at the top of my class. I was asked if I would switch from my regular trade that I entered the Navy as to become a full time diver, a commercial diver in a sense. I still remember standing there and listening to my instructors boss asking me to change careers and become a full time diver. I think it was at that point I knew I could do anything I put my mind to. I realized that things you feel are unattainable are not if you prepare, if you work hard enough. I dedicated myself to that course. It’s probably the second hardest I have ever trained, but I didn’t realize it at the time.

There wasn’t much that came up after that that really challenged me. I would bike many miles a week when I lived in the country. My brother was a big biker, inspired by the movie Breaking Away. I think I caught some of that passion for biking as I would bike for miles and miles every other day. The country was great for that. Long roads with no intersecting streets to slow you down. You could literally ride for 5 miles without having to stop.

Then I discovered running. I wanted to run a marathon. Why not, right? Who doesn’t. Training was going great. I would run for 2 – 3 hours on a tread mill at the Y. Crazy isn’t it. Got up to the point where my longest run was 23 miles. It doesn’t get any more boring than that. But I was focused again on a goal, running that marathon. And it all came crashing down. While training at the dojo a student fell on the side of my foot and it broke. Broken foot, 6 – 8 weeks recovery and there it is.

But it wasn’t a big deal. My broken foot was just before my trip to Okinawa and I was to grade for my rank of Nidan (second level black belt). A new focus. A new goal.

My role at the dojo has changed over the last few years. Expectedly. As a Sandan (third level black belt) my role is more teaching when at the dojo. I love it. I love the time I get with the kids especially. I am fortunate that our student are amazing kids, they are the future leaders of our communities, of our world. But with this change in roles also came a change in focus.

It’s been tough to find the motivation to drive me forward. I still do things but I don’t think I do them how I used to.

And I guess this is the purpose of this post. What drives you? Is there something driving you?

I hope so. We need that. I’ve realized over the years that we need that to keep getting up. To keep moving forward. You can’t keep going to the gym, the studio, the dojo if you don’t have the motivation. It’s hard work as it is but if you don’t have that goal to push you through it, it can be almost impossible.

Unless you love it.

The motivation is inherent when the love is there. If you have this you are truly blessed. You have found it, Nirvana, the Zenith of your mind and body.

If you have that goal, remind yourself of it when you are tired, exhausted, wanting to quit. Draw a picture of it, a picture of you achieving your goal. Because you can. I know that. I’m of average physical abilities. Average build. Average height. Below average coordination. Just an average dude. You can do it because I did. I had nothing going for me but my mind. My believing that I will. You will.


Yours in health,




Author: darryl bennett

A certified Canfitpro personal trainer specialist, and a Yondan (4th Degree) black belt in Shorin Ryu Shorin Kan karate, training at Ferraro Karate under Sensei Stephen Ferraro. Also holding a certificate in Plant Based Nutrition from ECornell University. Fitness and health have been a big part of my life, and always will be.

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