Today, I would like to talk a little bit about being too militant in our martial arts training. You can also take it to whatever else we’re doing in our life. And the role body-respect plays in that.
In my instance I have, over the years, developed a very strict mindset and view about how I need to do certain exercises, and the amount of discipline, and pushing that I need to do to. Plus, what I believed is going to be necessary to develop my body to become stronger, and more skillful in my martial art, and so on.
Remove the Idea of How Much to Push
What would happen is that I would create a certain idea about how much I need to push in my training for it to be effective. This was what I thought was needed in order for my body to grow, develop, become stronger and more skillful in my martial arts.
Let’s say, for example, that Sifu or your martial arts teacher says you need to do a certain position, or exercise for 10 minutes. But it’s a new exercise for you, and your body might only be able to do four or five minutes of it before you actually honestly need a break.
In that scenario I would be too militant in martial arts by already forming an image within my mind; an idea that because Sifu said 10 minutes – I need to push for 10 minutes.
It does not matter the level of pain or the level of ache on a physical level that I go through. Basically I am having thoughts like:
- “Pain is just pain.”
- “A burn is just a burn.”
- “It will go away.”
- “I need to push through.”
- “If I don’t push, I will never grow stronger.”
Instead of looking at it from a little bit of a different perspective. Meaning to take into consideration, and into account the uniqueness, and the difference – the individuality – of each person’s body.
Meaning the history, the genetics, and many other variable things. You know – the relationship we as a being, and our mind have to our body, and so forth. Which plays a major role in determining, for example, the rate at which one’s body grows, develops, strengthens. The rate or the frequency or the amount of rest we may need.
For example, some bodies may be very, very slow, initially, to become stronger, and develop.
Develop the Skill of Listening to Your Body
Let’s say an exercise that would be required to be done in 10 minutes. Some bodies might only be able to do two minutes for a week, and then increase their training by a minute every single week. And then they all of a sudden, you know, they will skyrocket and on the next month, they might be able to build up of five minutes, they might be able to do 15 or 20 minutes.
Others might do it the other way around. They might be becoming stronger, faster – at a faster rate, but then slow down at the end, for example. Or not slow down at all.
Meaning, basically, that the difference of each one’s body is unique. That domain is unique. And therefore, you know, to really feel into the body, and develop that skill, and practice the feeling into the body. Being too militant in martial arts is not the way to go.
Instead, I suggest to ask the questions during training: Does my body need rest? Do I need to take it slow? Do I need to turn down? Or can I, honestly, actually push a little bit more to strengthen, and develop myself?
It will not help us if we follow the approach of ‘what my body needs’, or ‘how my body feels’ through thinking . Thinking like ”this is what I need to do,” ”this is what my body is feeling.” That is approaching the physical body, which is our living organism – through this mind machine here.
Stop Wrecking Through Inconsideration
Instead we need to actually feel into the body, into the physicality. We must see “Okay, maybe my body needs a break now.” Or “maybe I just need to push a little bit more, because I can see, I can sense that I can push a little bit more.”
And then accordingly adjust the continuation of the training, or step back for the day.
Our physical body is very, very important. It actually dictates the success or lack of success of whatever we do. If we wreck our body through inconsideration, it will negatively impact who we are, and what we can do in our martial arts training. Maybe to the point where it’s so wrecked that we can no longer pursue our passion. Be it martial arts, or whatever else.
If we take, on the other hand, good care of our body as we would like to be taken care of in its position, and the body were our being in the body – then we may be able to, you know, common-sensically do our martial arts journey, and our self-development through martial arts, for a much longer time.