As New Years hits we are presented with a bittersweet moment where we reflect on things past and look forward to the future. What was in 2010 will never be again, for better or worse.

A significant part of Budo is coming to grips with mortality and learning how to make decisions, and once made moving forward strongly and bravely so as to better confront the next challenge. It’s with that in mind that we should look back fondly on 2010 no matter the circumstances, knowing we can grow and learn from every experience.

As time continues to march, I’ve sometimes wondered if my love for the martial arts would wain. Over the past decade or so my involvement with the arts has, like a steam engine, slowly built in strength and speed. What was once an average 3-day-a-week activity has turned into a life pursuit, one which I have carefully intertwined into my every day dealings. My work, my writing, my training, my reading all revolve around finding slivers of growth, and helping others find theirs as well.

I’ve learned to build in breaks and purposefully put down my training, even if for just a few days. Even so, there’s always that concern and wonder if one day I’ll find myself falling out of love; when I’ll wake up and not want to touch a gi. So far, after 15 years, it has not happened. Not even close, actually.

It’s beyond my full understanding but the arts have a way of becoming the best part of you, if you let them. Letting go of them would be letting go of Ikigai.

It’s with that I wish you a 2011 filled with strong spirit, so that you may overcome your obstacles and achieve those goals which will help you make the world a better place.