Off the Mat – Training Tested 
in the Real World
In my basement I have about twenty five projects that I have started and have yet to finish.  I also have books that are half read, exercise videos that have been viewed a handful of times (okay…twice) and the list goes on for, sadly, quite a while.  I’m going to get to them all, eventually.  Probably.  Maybe.

There are those things, however, that I don’t quit on or give up on because, at the end of the day, they are truly important:  my family, my friends, my job, and I especially no longer quit on me.  I especially no longer quit on me because if I don’t take care of me, I can’t take care of all of those other people and things that rely on me.  In many instances, I put myself first.  To me, it’s just smart and honestly, good business. 

In the beginning we don’t give up because whatever it is makes sense and is probably fun.  And for the most part, we don’t give up when we’re nearly finished because, well, we’re nearly finished.  It’s the middle that gets us (or at least me). You’re too far into it to make it look like you never started it and not quite close enough to make it look or be finished.  Apathy sets in. It’s so hard, it takes too much time, I’m not good at it.  My book of excuses, justifications, and reasoning is long.  Yours too?  I bet.  And then it’s so easy to quit and give up on whatever it is, I know, I get it. We all have days where we don’t feel like doing the things we have to or we feel that we just moved on from them.  But is that really the truth or is it just easier to tell ourselves that we’re done.  I specifically remember one workout where I wanted to quit on my sit ups.  I kept saying, out loud, “I can’t…I can’t” (it was very dramatic) and my partner I was working with said to me, “Karina, every time you say ‘I can’t’ I’m going to smack your legs.” And sure enough, every time I said it, she smacked my legs.  She wasn’t trying to berate me or be mean; she was doing it because she knew I could do it and just needed a reminder that I am better than an “I can’t”.  It doesn’t mean that I don’t think about giving up, I just spend more time coming up with reasons why I will finish before I think of reasons why I won’t.

It’s not something that I was able to stop immediately.  I was a chronic quitter.  I seemed to quit mostly on things that I thought didn’t affect anyone but me.  Book clubs, gyms, hobbies…but then I found out that when I quit that book club, it soon disbanded; when I quit the gym, I gained weight and felt bad, and when I quit all of the ill-fated hobbies, I never finished projects that I had promised to people. I didn’t realize that had I just either not committed to that club or had I just finished those things that I had committed to, I wouldn’t have been able to add them to my list of “I started that but never finished it”.  I couldn’t very well tell my daughter that she never finishes what she starts, when, in the end, she may have learned that from me.

So over time, I began to finish little things and soon, finishing the bigger longer-lasting tasks seemed more tolerable.  Perfect at it, I am not, but things are more likely to get done around my house and in my life now because I have chosen not to quit or give up.  Consider it mental muscle memory.  Just finish what you start.  It really is that easy.

There are by-products to this.  Have you ever taken notice that when you don’t give up on something, the people around you try harder on different parts of their lives?  No, not me?  Reconsider.  You have no idea of what an inspiration you may be to someone.  Maybe your kids don’t quit as easily at their sport or activity or maybe a friend doesn’t give up on something that they started.  Did you ever consider that it may be because of you they made the decision to not give up?

I didn’t write this so you would all know that I was a chronic quitter, or that I now finish what I start.  I wrote this so that you would know that chances are we’re similar in this way.  Just think of the story that most of us had read to us or have had the chance to read to someone else, “The Little Engine That Could”.  It may sound silly, but that story says a lot.  The lesson is not just for the one being read to, it is also for the one who is doing the reading.
Karina Gramesty, Assistant Instructor

Quote of the Week
“No longer forward nor behind I look in hope and fear;
But grateful take the good I find,
The best of now and here.”
-John G. Whittier

Ask Master Dan
Master Dan,
Is there another technique that I can work
on with my child?
*Be sure to try our family class on Wednesdays at 6:00pm, if you’d like to learn more about training with your child!


Students Bring Their A-Game to the Stryker Bootcamp!
This past Sunday, students ignored the sweltering heat and humidity and gathered at SMA for a fierce
bootcamp! They were also lucky enough to meet the newest member of the community (and unofficial school mascot), Master Dan’s new puppy, Jazz!
Back row: Sam M., Lenore M., Shelia M., Kate M., Eric N., Mia M.
Front row: Nina S., Jazz, Lynn M., Kailen P., Bridget S.
Our next event is our Adult Streetfighting Seminar, which will be held on Sunday August 26th at


noon. The cost for the event is $20, and participation is limited to 20 people.


Email Kailen for more information, or to get on the list!

Refer a Friend, Win a Shirt!
We will be giving away a t-shirt to everyone who refers a friend onto the Beginner Program (3 weeks of training and a uniform for $79!) throughout the month of August! 
Training is more fun when you have a buddy on the mat beside you.  Simply have your friend email Kailen in order to get started (and be sure they remember to mention your name!).