Today in our column "Better, Smarter, Stronger!" we will tell you about an exceptional woman with impressive achievements in all areas of life - Irina Vasilenko, Executive MBA graduate, EMAS Strategic Management teacher, Doctor of Medicine.

Irina lives in Milan, she speaks three languages and has two medical specializations - Otolaryngology and Plastic Surgery. But Irina's achievements are not limited to her busy professional life, she also practices the martial art of Jiu-Jitsu. Irina shared her recent achievement and her thoughts on it:

“There are TWO MISTAKES along the way to MASTERY: not starting it and not going all the way. I decided to start, so not to have regrets. One more path on the road of my self-mastery. I was always attracted and fascinated by martial arts. By the spirit, extreme inner discipline, inner power expressed in external strength, focus and concentration, speed and elegance of movements and great knowledge and wisdom behind each of them. For many years and for various reasons I just kept this idea of starting practicing martial arts at the very hidden corner of my mind. But it was constantly there like a very strong pulsing dominant.

And all of a sudden, I just made a decision. If I WANT to start, I HAVE to do it. And I shouldn’t be conditioned by my age and many other things.

Jiu-Jitsu. Gentle and very sophisticated ancient art. That was my choice.

The way of self-mastery in martial arts is ENDLESS and it never stops. I’m just at the very beginning of this incredibly fascinating path of self-understanding and self-improvement, as well as better cognition of the world around.

Last weekend I had my first small-big victory on this path. After having a surgery 1 month ago and 3 weeks of rehabilitation without training I decided to participate with all our team at the previously scheduled competition. I was awarded the 3rd place at the Kata competition (kata — a detailed choreographed pattern of martial arts movements made to be practiced alone). On the podium I was the only white belt, all others were black.

I overcame my hesitations. And I was extremely focused.

Coming back in my memory to the valuable personal peaks that I reached this year, there are a successful graduating from the Executive MBA program and this one small-big step on the way of my self-mastery in martial arts.

The MESSAGE is that we should never condition ourselves. That’s actually always US who put limits in our life. Age. Not appropriate moment. Lack of time. Circumstances. Environment etc.

I completely agree with the words of Shi Heng Yi, 35th generation of Shaolin Masters, that “there are two mistakes along the way to Mastery: not starting it and not going all the way”. I started.”

We are very happy for Irina Vasilenko and her new triumphs, as well as for every student and graduate of our school. We are again convinced that WE MAKE THE STRONG BECOME SUCCESSFUL, and these successes don’t stop after graduation.