On Discipline

  • Hebrews 12:11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

The Blackbelt Excellence that we are focusing on this month at KMMA is discipline. Discipline, like so many of our Blackbelt Excellences, is a super power. I call discipline a superpower for two chief reasons: 1) it carries with it the ability to significantly improve ones own life and also the lives of those around us and 2) it is a very rare power amongst most, but a very common one in people that produce super results. As a society at large we most often discuss the subject of discipline as pertains to that of a child; and it is true that it is important to begin the development of this power early. It is also true, however, that we need to exercise discipline at every stage of our life and, in fact, the presence or absence of this power in adulthood is one of the most significant indicators of the results we will achieve.

KMMA instructors of course give this lesson as is appropriate for the specific audience in the academy. When we are teaching to the kids or juniors, we discuss discipline in the way of demonstrating obedience and language of respect to parents and teachers, and also the application of discipline to the student’s lessons, at school and at the dojo, towards the accomplishment of the desired goal- i.e. better grades at school and the Blackbelt or next degree or major goal in the martial arts.

It is this latter understanding of discipline that of course applies to us in our adult lives. Rather speaking about our career, or fitness, or finance, or relationships or any other of the many “adulting” things we do, our discipline, or lack thereof, moves us closer or further away form our desired goals daily. I can personally attest to evidence of both in my own life; instances in which I successfully applied discipline and accomplished great things, and others in which I did not, and failed as greatly.

The great news about this admission and truth, of course, is that we are not destined to live in our pasts. We can never go back and change it, but we can begin to apply the superpower of discipline to get from where we are to where we want to be. The first step is understanding the mechanism by which discipline, or lack of it, moves us closer or further form our goals; the second one is developing and then applying discipline that moves us where we want to go.

The reason that the attribute of discipline is so very relevant to our success and failure is because neither generally happens very quick. With a few exceptions wherein someone gets unusually lucky or blessed, as in a lottery winner, or something terrible happens totally outside the realm of one’s control, as in a freak and terminal accident, our successes and failures happen a little bit at a time, over a long time. We don’t get instantly fat or instantly fit, instantly wealthy or instantly broke, instantly educated or instantly not, nor instantly successful in business, relationship or any other worthy thing. The truth, while not popular today, is that success happens slowly, like crockpot cooking, not quickly like a microwave. Small actions, done consistently over time move us towards what we want or further away. It’s the very small incremental nature of this truth that makes it so illusive and insidious. We don’t notice the effects immediately and, therefore often don’t take consistent enough action to create the desired results.

This is where discipline comes in. As Hebrews 12:11 says “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Discipline produces health. Discipline produces financial peace. Discipline produces strong  relationships and discipline prepares us for the unexpected, as is the example in our discipline of training self defense to prepare for a day we hope will never come. 

If you are like me, pondering on this issue will bring many emotions. At once I am convicted about areas I need to do better and reminded that the best is yet ahead and that only I have the power, with God’s help and blessing, to create the future I want for myself and those I love through the application of discipline in my own life, and my best attempt to create the same in my children and those I lead. How about you? In what areas do you need more discipline in your life? What disciplines could you start today that you will thank yourself for this time next year?


Stephen Del Castillo

Founding Instructor, KMMA