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Sliver of Hope

Every time I fly into the great big sky, I am in awe. As I sit right now in the plane from New York City back to Tampa, Florida, I cannot help but marvel at the vastness of the earth as it stretches out before me. It is a night flight, and the sky is slowly melting into orange and blue and into the darkness. There is a sliver of a moon starting to emerge. Incredible. Fascinating. Powerful. We take it for granted.

I know how superheroes feel, with their silky capes flapping in the air. With human likeness, but incredible greatness, they jump quickly to take flight and are ready to save the world. They see the earth from above, and it is a beautiful place. Although some human beings choose evil or darkness, the rest have hope and gratefulness billowing in their hearts. It is for them the superheroes risk everything. Saving goodness whenever there is a sliver of hope is worth it.

I sometimes equate martial artists to superheroes. It is not that we have superpowers, but we do have a powerful chi or energy that reveals itself through practice and effort. We sometimes see the world differently. We begin to realize that we can change it, if we try.

How can we change it? We are role models who bring forth a layer of age-old values, customs, and traditions. Martial artists who see beyond the physical and engage their martial art mindset have the ability to bring these values and virtues into the world. Slowly they become a part of who we are and what we do, and ripple out to our friends, families, co-workers, neighborhoods, and communities.

White belt or black, beginner or advanced, martial artists should always strive to be the best they can be, even in the most difficult of circumstances. One positive change in mindset can make the difference between success or failure. Martial artists accept the challenge put before them. They do not hide from it, push it aside, or pretend it does not exist. As if battling any opponent, there is usually no opportunity for success if you do not face difficulties head on.

Every time I spar, I jump in quickly, because I do not want to delay. In real life, I will never have time to circle an opponent. I try to move in offensively in a sparring match because a man rarely expects this from a woman. I like the element of surprise. It does not make me a better fighter. In fact, I throw a flurry of too much of everything hoping something makes contact. It is not the best way. Sparring requires technique and precision and a plan.

I am not always patient, but I know one thing. I am not afraid to move in if I must, and that gives me the confidence I need. I can work on technique and pace. Confidence is something you must acquire quickly.

I  never want to fight. I never want to feel my fist or foot upon another’s flesh, or feel theirs upon mine. That does not prevent it from potentially happening one day. Like the superhero, my instinct is to protect, and to take the power within and mold it into something meaningful and purposeful.

Every difficulty that I have had in my adult life has been met with the wrath of my martial art mindset. Nothing will drag me down long enough to inhibit my powerful mission. Nothing can ever destroy my vision on the inside. No one can deny me my positive thoughts or my belief that a sliver of hope can make all the difference between success and failure.

How do you choose to view the world? Do you fly in an airplane and appreciate its vastness, or never even notice? Awareness is not just important in self-defense. It is important in life. Never take a moment for granted. You and I have the amazing opportunity to change the world because being a role model is an inherent responsibility of a being a martial artist, whether you want it or not.

Be ready to accept responsibility even if there is no signature required that you understand the terms and conditions of this agreement.

Never take your martial art training for granted. Its vastness is as expansive as the sky. Each lesson is a puff of cloud upon which you gain flight into your own martial art journey. Take the time to experience it, and apply it to who you are. Make decisions about who you want to be. Do not limit your possibilities. There are opportunities all around you, if you keep your eyes open and look in the right direction.

This airplane is far more complex than we realize, yet we see it simply as a form of transportation. The more you allow a positive martial art mindset to engulf you, the more aware you will be that there is always complexity within simplicity.

As darkness settles outside the window, I think of all those who are turning in for the evening for a good night’s sleep. The sliver of a moon shines outside the plane’s window and it is all I see in the darkness. It represents all we need and all that we are, a small sliver of hope and the belief that we are headed in the right direction.




The Martial Arts Woman book is now available. Purchase through my e-commerce store: or on Amazon:

This book shares the stories and insights of more than twenty-five women in the martial arts, and how they apply martial arts to their lives.

Andrea F. Harkins is a writer, motivator, life coach, martial artist, and public speaker. She was inducted into the USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame in July, 2017. Her book, The Martial Arts Woman, is now available at

4 thoughts on “Sliver of Hope

  1. Your vastness of the power you see in things is so amazing. When I am in a plane, I wonder where God is, if He will appear at any moment or maybe Jesus will just be around the next cloud.
    just wonder what it’s like in Heaven. I know it’s simplistic but I pray that my visions will come true and that all my family and friends that have passed will remember me if I am good enough to make it to Heaven. Or if it will be that no one will remember anyone and it will not matter because God will have other plans for us. Just silly thoughts.

  2. Osu and thank you 🙂 You sound a lot like me when it comes to sparring, except that all the gentlemen I spar with know to expect it of me 🙂 I’m not patient while sparring either and more than one person has taken advantage of that. Cheers to lifelong learning 🙂

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