The Tiger is one of the animals we study.  It’s movements are decisive, controlled, and direct.  It’s a great animal to teach us strength and power.  But, we also look to the Tiger for the character aspect of self-control.  When we ask the kids what they think self-control is, the answer we get back the most often is “control of your mind and body.”   That’s a great answer, and nicely sums things up.  

But, let’s look a little deeper.  Just what is control of your mind?  If you ask the experts (whoever they might be), you would probably get as many answers as people you ask.  But if you ask us, we think control of your mind means taking responsibility for your words and actions.  That old saying…you can’t control the behavior of other people, but you can control your reaction(s) to it” is very true.  It can be tough to not verbally retaliate against a real, or perceived, insult.  But it can be done if self-control is being practiced.   The same is true if we’re not talking reaction, but initiation.  Avoid making derogatory comments, whether in jest or not.  Doing so shows good self-control.  Sure, you might observe someone doing something foolish, but you need not comment on it.  And who knows, that one time you exercise good self-control and not make a comment that could hurt feelings, might be the one time that person needed to move on from a possibly self-destructive act.  Think about that…..NOT saying something might actually save someone harm.  How cool is that??

Moving on to control of your body…..  this could mean so many things.  When practicing your kung fu, it could mean working your balance and flexibility so that your stances, or kicks, or punches are awesome.  When walking on a slippery surface, it could mean knowing how (or how not) to fall to avoid injury.  When confronted with a physical threat, it could mean moving in a way that is protective of yourself, yet not overly aggressive or harmful to another.  Whatever the circumstance, control of your body is as important as control of your mind.  And, after all, the two are tied together, so this all makes obvious sense.

So, the next time you’re in the studio, look at the Tiger poster that is above the mirrors.  It reflects on different aspects of self-control….aspects the kids sum up very well….”control of your mind and body.”