What’s Your Excuse?

by Martin Phillips on 26 July 2012

A wise person once told me, “You can make excuses or you can make progress, but you can’t make both!”

Lately when I get to the dojo for the 6am morning classes it’s been pretty cold (for the Sunshine Coast at least).  Even though I love going to the dojo I could have easily stayed in bed, it been freezing… or maybe I’ve just had too many winters on the Sunshine Coast.  But I followed my own advice that I give to everyone who asks me what they need to do in order to become a black belt…. I just keep turning up.

If you want to be successful at anything at it’s the most important think you can do, “Just turn up”.  Everyone has an off day from time to time, they’re feeling lazy, they’re a bit distracted by something else, feeling a bit sick, feeling stressed, etc.  But everyone has a choice, they can give in to the excuses or they can “just turn up”!

It’s advice that has served me well for many years and it has become a part of my daily philosophy.  And I can clearly see that those who have listened to this advice and taken it onboard are also seeing the benefits of such a simple shift in mindset.

Even on these cold mornings it was particularly evident that there are quite a few people who take take this attitude, not just in the dojo, but in everything that they do in life.

One great example of this is one of our former adult members, Hayden.  For the most part, Hayden is a typical single young man, doing karate to get fit and build his confidence and increase his social circle.  But what’s not so typical is that Hayden is legally blind due to a birth defect.  He’s completely blind in one eye and has only very limited vision out of the other.  Some people might have used this as a bit of an excuse why not to get start at all, but not Hayden.  For the time that he lived and worked on the Sunshine Coast Hayden stepped up in BIG way and kept turning up enjoying the benefits along the way.  Growing in confidence and going from strength to strength.

Here’s an old interview I did with Hayden before he moved out of town.


Rod July 26, 2012 at 11:15 am

A great story and well worth the time to listen/watch. Apart from the strength, determination and spirit that Hayden demonstrates the story is also a very positive indictment on the camraderie of the Dojo community and the strength and empathy of the teaching staff.

Martin Phillips July 26, 2012 at 12:17 pm

Thanks for the comment’s Rod. We do the best we can to create an inclusive training environment that allows people to feel comfortable enough to make mistakes. After all, if you’re not making mistakes, you’re not really growing. But it does take the efforts of all members such as you to add a bit of themselves and maintain that kind of culture.

It’s a shame Hayden is no longer part of the dojo community. There were some mornings we had a really diverse mix of people training (even more than now). Definitely a sign of the “anyone can do it” approach that Hayden mentioned. But there were times it almost sounded like the punchline of a really good joke….

Hey, did you hear the one about the blind guy, the one armed Irishman and the pediatrician who walked into a karate dojo?

Luc July 26, 2012 at 6:02 pm


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