Everytime I walk into class and recite the creed – “Wisdom, Benevolence, Sincerity, Bravery” a mindset shift takes over right after those words are recited. All are equally important, but the one that I put the least emphasis on – and not on purpose mind you – is Bravery. This comes into play especially when doing partner work and sparring. You may think it’s easy to be brave, or maybe not. As a small female often partnered up with much larger males, I can tell you more times than not, Bravery often slips through the cracks. It is a constant conscious effort to remind myself how important that last word in that creed is – it stands as a base for the rest. Without Bravery, how do you take that first step? With Bravery, you are acknowledging the wisdom, benevolence and sincerity you already acknowledged and are about to engage in. When I feel an insecurity inside, I often slip up, or not perform as well as I know I am capable of. Fear sets in and it’s amazing how much it takes over. This is one of the many reasons why meditation in the practice is so important. We have to be able to train the mind to shift to the correct mindset when needed to. Too often distractions dictate our actions and what a careless society we have become! To acknowledge Bravery, we are saying we are in control, and we are prepared to do our very best for whatever the next circumstances may be – whether it’s sparring in class, starting a new career, relationship, life path – whatever it may be! That seemingly simple mindset is the start to a more positive and productive outlook on life, and why wouldn’t anyone want that? Bravery is saying “Yes I can” and even if failure happens, you still went in with your best effort. These are the things I constantly have to remind myself and part of the many reasons why I love this art – the depth of teachings it has to offer is wondrous and profound. Who knew one simple word could be so powerful? What does Bravery mean to you?