Not Taking Anything For Granted

Have you ever taken something, or someone, for granted? I’ve been on this kick of trying to live in every moment – ever since a rewatch of The Last Samurai (“life in every breath”). After something that I consider to be deep passes, I stop and ask myself “what have I gained from this moment?”

Now, I don’t mean a material gain; it’s not a method of looking at people or things with eyes for what I can get from them. I’m talking about looking back on an event I felt was important and trying to find its place in my life. Can I take something away from this? Did I conduct myself in a manner that lines up with my beliefs? Did I make the right decisions?

I’ll be frank; I typically ask these questions of myself after an episode of The Flash or The Originals (the answers from the latter are interesting; there’s a lot to take away from that show). But sometimes they’re moments that mean something on a more personal level. Take yesterday for instance.

But first…

Some Backstory

Five years ago my sifu (that’s Chinese for skillful person or master) moved back to his homeland of Spain. Before then I had trained under him for nine years in numerous martial arts (Jeet Kune Do, Kali/Escrima, Tai Chi Chuan, Jiu Jitsu, Judo, Kyusho Jitsu…he’s traveled the world collecting martial arts styles and has no qualms about passing on his wealth of knowledge; and I was a sponge). But during the last year or two of my training, I wasn’t all that dedicated.

I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be opening a martial arts school and lost sight of the value of the instruction I was receiving. But before my sifu left, he certified me as a Jeet Kune Do instructor because he felt that I had earned it; that I understood his lessons and could pass them along to future generations.

But once he left, and the bug to train bit me again, the quality of instruction I had under him couldn’t be found in my city anymore. And the personal relationships I built with other instructors did not have the same closeness. Not only had a great teacher moved away, but a great friend, as well.


I had the privilege to sit with my sifu, Joaquim Almeria, and talk. It was likely to be his last visit to Las Vegas – he has no other connections here except students who like to reminisce through long-winded blog and Facebook posts.

As with all of our conversations, I gained instruction and wisdom, but we also talked as friends. I learned more about his home; he learned how things have been here. It was a great couple of hours.

He reminded me of how much I had taken for granted before he left and how important it is to live in the moment and not in a distant dreamland of “some day…”

What about you? Are there things you have taken for granted? Do you have any tricks for living in the moment?