Tuesday, July 27, 2010
all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline,
and effort.” – Jesse Owens
12:28 pm edt
When examining the vital characteristics of great leaders and successful people,
one characteristic seems to stand out above all the rest: self-discipline. Why? Because life is full of unforeseen challenges
and problems on the path to success and achievement. To overcome these challenges, leaders must learn to demonstrate the four
key ingredients to living a self-disciplined life, including self-control, motivation, persistence, and goal setting. In a world where children have limited experience with delayed gratification and
lives are saturated with messages of instant gratification from technology and advertisements, it is important, now more than
ever, to teach the value of self-discipline. The frantic pace of family life and extremely busy daily schedules provide very
few opportunities for people to think before they act. As a result, is it increasingly more important to develop the personal
discipline to make sound decisions and take the responsibility to complete tasks. Having self-discipline means you control
your actions: your actions do not control you. Just like your muscles can get stronger, so can your self-discipline with exercising
and using your inner strength.
Here are some ways to strengthen your self-discipline:
1. When you come home from work or school, train yourself to complete needed tasks around the house
before watching TV or playing video games
you are mad or angry, stop and think about what you are going to say before saying things you might regret.
3. If you make a mess or get something dirty, clean it before
you are asked.
4. Begin to make healthier
choices when it comes to choosing snacks and food, regardless of cravings or wants.
5. Keep a journal and
note your successes. This will help you stay motivated and on track.
6. Learn moderation. Sometimes, there is too much of a good thing. Recognize how having too much
is having an effect on your life and begin to scale back.
Reward yourself when you stay on course or in control, despite difficulties or temptations.
These are only a few ways in which you can strengthen your self-discipline. Keep
in mind, as a martial artist, you set an example for others to follow. Continue to make sure you are taking the steps to create
a disciplined life so that you accomplish goals and influence others.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
8:39 am edt
On June 28, 2005, Luttrell and SEAL Team 10 were assigned to a mission to kill or capture
Ahmad Shah (nom de guerre Mohammad Ismail), a high-ranking Taliban leader responsible for killings in eastern Afghanistan
and the Hindu-Kush mountains. The SEAL team was made up of Luttrell, Michael P. Murphy, Danny Dietz and Matthew Axelson. Luttrell
and Axelson were the team's snipers, with Luttrell also being the team Medic; Dietz was in charge of communications and Murphy
the team leader.
Three goat herders stumbled upon the hiding spot of the four
SEALs. The men were detained by the team but the SEALs were unable to verify any hostile intent. Murphy, the officer in charge
of the SEAL team, put the fate of the goatherds to a vote. Axelson voted to kill the Afghanis, and Dietz abstained. Murphy
told Luttrell that he would vote the same as him so with his vote it was decided to let the Afghans go, for fear of possible
criminal charges back in the United States. (Note that this account has been disputed by Murphy's father.)
The released herders disappeared and likely immediately betrayed the team's location to local
Taliban forces and within an hour the SEALs were engaged in a fire-fight against a force of 80-150 enemy fighters. The SEAL
team engaged the Taliban for over two hours in a running fire-fight through the region's hills and valleys.
Team leader Lt. Michael P. Murphy was awarded the Medal of Honor for exposing himself to enemy
fire to reach higher ground from which to transmit a call for backup. The four-man SEAL team had killed around 70 of the Taliban despite most of them being shot several
times but still carried on with the fight, however, Axelson, Dietz and Murphy were eventually killed. Luttrell barely survived
after being blown off a cliff by an RPG.
An CH-47 Chinook helicopter was hastily
dispatched upon receiving Lt. Murphy's distress call with a force consisting of eight SEALs and eight 160th Special Operations
Aviation Regiment "Nightstalkers" to rescue the team, but the helicopter was shot down by an RPG upon reaching the
site of the battle. All 16 men on the Chinook were killed, including Shane Patton, whose place on Operation Red Wing had been
taken by Danny Dietz.
Luttrell was the only survivor of the SEAL team. Badly
wounded, he managed to walk and crawl seven miles to evade capture, during which he killed six more Taliban fighters. He was
given shelter by tribesmen from Sabri-Minah, a Pashtun village. (This was done because of "Lokhay Warkawa", a Pashtun
belief that any stranger in need of shelter must be given it.) The villagers sheltered him and provided
medical aid, and refused Taliban demands that Luttrell be turned over to them. After several days one of the village elders
trekked twenty miles to a US base to reveal Luttrell's location, and he was finally rescued six days after the battle by US
See Mr. Luttrell on the TODAY show interviewed by Matt Lauer
Monday, July 5, 2010
Half Steps and Smiles
Let me begin by saying I love a parade.
There is little to compare to a great hometown 4th of July parade, the kind you have to set your chair eight
days ahead of time for. I know the reason for this wonderful experience can only be the people around me.
Canonsburg’s annual festival of chairs leading up to the event can be stressful, planning the chair drop, band
practice, the traditional family parade rituals, the cookout afterwards and the neighborhood fireworks after dark. I heard
on the news that some 50,000 people attended the Canonsburg parade this year on Saturday July 3rd.
I was one and it was easy to believe that number, I saw the people smiling back as I smiled at them.
9:06 am edt
Oh how 24 hours can make a difference, Sunday July 4th
Pam and I made our annual pilgrimage to Las Vegas for the MAIA (Martial Arts Industry Association) Super Show and convention.
I already miss the Lil’ Dragons, my students, and my small town. As I walked down Las Vegas Boulevard
I out of habit look people in the eye. Like I said I saw the smiles in Canonsburg, when I made eye contact
with many of the people walking the other direction my smile was returned most often with a glare striking similar to that
of a fighters stare down inside the octagon.
After the parade we picked up our chairs
and made our way back to the car like everyone else. In Canonsburg when two people are on a collision course
they each take a half step to the side, politely smile, and often exchange a mannerly comment such as “sorry”
or “excuse me”. On a short walk I became very proud of where I’m from, how I teach, and
the way my children and students act in public. I wish so many more people could learn the lessons of the
Lil’ Dragons and use your martial arts manners not just on the mats, but everywhere.