Dedication, That Is What You Need
When I was a teenager, there used to be a program on the telly which back in the day was very popular. It was called "Record Breakers" and there was a very nice man called Roy Castle. He was the host and to be fair to him, he actually went on to break 9 world records, all of which were confirmed by the genius that was Mr
Norris McWhirter from the Guinness Book of World Records.
At the end of each show, Roy would sing the theme tune. It was called "Dedication" and the chorus, I can remember like it was yesterday “Dedication, dedication, dedication, that’s what you need, if you want to be the best, if you want to beat the rest, dedication’s what you need.”
The show ran for some 30 years which is ironically the number of years that I trained with Shihan Cummins. Funny to think, looking back that when I first met him at his dojo, I was a young man in my late twenties and here I am an old man in my late fifties. We traveled the years together along with countless others. Training week in, week out, month in, month out, then before you knew it, year in year out, and then low and behold it’s a decade, and somehow its three decades.
One of the key things that I learned from Shihan was that the people who he admired the most were those people who may not have been the best, or most flexible, or even not even that good at Karate, but it was a never give up attitude irrespective of challenge or obstacle that impressed him the most.
Do not get me wrong, he was also a remarkable trainer of champions; over 40 years he trained champions every single year, even up to world champion level with Senseis Ronnie Christopher and Ronnie Canning part of the great KUGB squad that beat the Japanese in Sunderland in 1990 to be crowned world champions.
Both these gifted men spoke movingly about just what an amazing influence that Shihan had upon them and their lives, as he did on thousands of others, after his passing.
And this is the thing, the reason that people were dedicated to him was because he was dedicated to them.
He never missed training. He was always there, irrespective of weather, flood, famine or pestilence (mind you not too much of that in Birmingham and Halesowen I am pleased to report). He was always in the dojo and irrespective of a dojo full of black belts or only 3 people in a cold night in November, his attitude, dedication, and example were always the same.
He was dedicated and he lead by example and trust me it was contagious.