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Episode 32: “Unleash Your Inner Black Belt During Challenging Times” with Hanshi Dave Kovar, Founder of Kovar Systems and Kovar Satori Academies

In this episode, Matt Swain interviews Hanshi Dave Kovar, founder of Kovar Systems and Kovar Satori Academies, eighth-degree black belt, and known within the martial arts industry as the “Teacher of teachers.” Dave shares how his on-the-mat, hands-on martial arts business is surviving in a physically distanced world and how a “black-belt mindset” can help us get through uncertain and challenging times because when you “change your perspective, your life changes with it.”

Go Digital: “It’s ironic that, when it comes to our academies, we've been trying for the last four years to get online and to make sure that we had all our curriculum in our digital resource library that students could go to if they wanted to practice at home. What we couldn't do in four years, we were actually able to do in about four days. Once we got shut down, we transitioned to online classes, and we were up and running the very first week… It's really forced us to step up our game when it comes to bringing quality content to our clientele. It makes me realize how much more room there was to add more value to our clients and that’s what we're really focusing on… It's amazing how effective you can be with online classes when you can actually interact with students. We seeing students improving in certain areas, more so than we could have imagined.”

Take Care of Yourself: “The very moment that we're able to change our perspective and look at things differently, our life changes with it… One foundational mindset is, ‘I take great care of myself because the world needs me at my best.’ I'm a better father, husband, boss when I'm feeling good about myself. We really owe it to the people in our circle to take great care of ourselves. There's an old Indian proverb, ‘Those who have their health, have a thousand goals, those that don't have but one.’ This is paramount for everything else to work.”  

Find Your Question: “Any time your mind starts to waiver, affirm, ‘I can always do more than I think I can.’ Being optimistic doesn't allow you to do impossible things, but it helps you realize your potential. If I have a challenge, and this is especially valuable during these times, I position that challenge in the form of a question that assumes there's an answer. What does that mean exactly? For example, for the COVID-19 crisis, I ask myself, ‘How can I manage this crisis in a way that brings a maximum benefit to my community, my business, and my family?’ That's the question that I pose to myself every day. That gets me really focusing on solutions versus worrying about the challenges.”

Achieve Calm: “Another mindset is, ‘I remain calm even in challenging situations.’ That is easy to say, hard to do but worthy of the challenge. You see it in martial arts or combat sports where the old veteran steps into the ring or cage and the young guy is trying to get in their head. The veteran remains calm because he knows that if he loses control of his emotion, that he's not going to do well. Being calm and centered is really the key. To develop that, start by using everyday adversity as a way to develop mental toughness. That's your chance. There's nothing you can do about it. That's when you sit up straight, you take a deep breath, and you practice being calm right then… Having the right mindset and staying focused and positive is like bathing. You don't just do it once in a while; you take a shower every day, right? It's a real conscious effort to maintain. These are not easy times and they may get harder. That's why we need to be at our best.”

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