Monday, April 12, 2010

The Hardest Lesson For Warriors....

I think the hardest lesson for warriors to learn, is that of humility. At class this evening, I was called on to demonstrate the Seisan Kata. Objectively, I guess I did okay, but I didn't get low enough, wasn't focused enough, didn't snap my punches and kicks the way I should have, and at one point, even got a little off-balance. It was embarrassing. I can do it so much better than I did, and I feel like I really blew it.

There was another, albeit minor, incident too, but I don't feel like going into it... Maybe next time I show up to class, I'll wear my white belt, instead... I'm a little discouraged and frustrated, to be perfectly honest. I also know that true to my happy-go-lucky self, that I will dwell on it, analyze it, keep whatever lessons I'm supposed to learn from tonight's class, and then I will let the rest go, and the frustration and embarrassment of tonight's class will only further steel my resolve to work harder, get a little better each time, and this too shall be conquered and turned to my own advantage.

For now, I'm discouraged and frustrated and a little angry. I acknowledge and accept that, and in so doing, those feelings will cease to persist. No sense in swallowing that poison. Spit it out, shrug it off, and drive on.


  1. One thing that helps me through those moments (and yeah, I have 'em too, you bet I do), is to remember what my training and my understanding of my martial art is all about. I'm in class to learn, not let everybody know how good I am, or to do things perfectly, or judge others, etc. Just focus on getting better through objective attention to the task at hand. That's usually what helps me. :)

  2. Solid advice. Thank you... After a good night's sleep, I'm fine. I process these things at blinding speed. When I got home last night, I was just irritated and couldn't put my finger on exactly why. Writing it out was a big help. Once I identified the reasons, then I was ready to process it.

    It's like the old Zen koan of the mountain: "First there is the mountain. Then there is no mountain. Then there is the mountain again."

    I can't change what has happened. I can only change my perspective and perception.

    One's choice of perception determines one's reality. Either my choices contribute to my quality of life, or else they don't. Always, the challenge is in "right choosing." :-)

  3. You can't expect everything to go perfectly or to to achieve mastery of a technique in mere months, cut yourself some slack and don't be a perfectionist. I know I have leanings towards perfectionism and while it does have advantages there's always the danger it'll drag you down to self-pity and destroy your confidence. Remember martial arts are 50% phsyical and 50% mental (attitude, spirit). Don't be discouraged and push on, however be just to yourself and don't judge yourself by insanely high standards. By that train of thought I might as well quit training because there are a lot of people better than me and by that standard my technique is poor even though I'm quite advanced and better than most... It's all a matter of perspective: we had a student with us who was, even though she started training at 40 and had no experience in martial arts whatsoever,technically amazing and picked up details like it was nothing. One day she annouces she wants to quit and it's basically because she doubts herself, doesn't think she's good enough and it's too much stress for her to handle. This lady's yellow belt exam was near perfect and the best we've seen up to date yet she thinks it's not good enough... Be the best martial artist you can be at your level and at this point in time. Do your best and good things will come sooner or later.


    PS: one more thing though... try to find ways to maintain a sustainable effort and development. From what I gathered here you run the risk of burn in a year or so if you keep pushing yourself too hard and you don't want to end up detesting training and putting away your gi. Relax from time to time, both physically and mentally. Remember training is a marathon not a sprint. Even a samurai wasn't training 24/7.

  4. Wow! Zara, this is amazing... Thank you so much for your wisdom and advice. I appreciate it! I do take time to relax, and in spite of the intensity that I bring to each class, I have plenty of days that I don't train, and I am pretty patient with myself. I am definitely in this for the long haul. Thank you again! :-)

  5. Frank, you should have seen me in my first class!!!! a total failure!!! first I was the oldest, the heaviest, the slowest, I'm not very flexible and I was laughing, don't ask me why, I guess nerves. At one point of the class, my mind just went, it was total blank........before the class even ended, I was kind of disappointed but then like a flash of light, it hit me, it was my decision to sign up, I knew it would be hard, really hard, and I still sign up, because I love it. And even though I was so critical of myself, EVERYONE thought I did good and that it would get better, HAAAAAAA what I really need is a BOB for moments like this!!! My advice, use your Bob!!!!
    Thanks to you and all your encouragement I had the gut to do what I like and I'm learning so much from you and your friends advices, beautiful words of wisdom and from the heart from your friends James and Zara!!!! I'm so glad to be part of your Isshinriu Journey!

  6. Irma... I am so proud of you! In my class, I feel like the slowest one there. It's not about comparing yourself to others. In doing that, we always seem to sell ourselves short. Only compare you to YOU. Your first class is "Point A." From there, in the span of a few short weeks and months, you will be able to see just how far you've come. Your flexibility will get better, your muscles and mind will begin to make those wonderful neuron pathways so that they actually do what they are supposed to do, and your speed will improve.

    I am ecstatic for you!! :-)))


  7. P.S. And yeah... James and Zara are awesome, aren't they? :-))))

  8. P.S.S. Irma, you showed up to class. Everything else is just the cherry on top. Showing up and doing your best is always a success and NEVER a failure! :-)

  9. Thanks Frank!!!!!! I'm excited about my journey!!! :)))))