- Posts: 3
Sometimes, it is he or she that we do not expect that will bring something to mind and make us truly think. The example here is a reflection on a specific point that was brought up at last night's class in relation to the word of the week - perseverance.
Last night we had a class working on One-Steps, and as has been the case lately we had a “word of the week”. The word of the week this day was “perseverance”. Aside from identifying myself as a shining example of perseverance (thanks, Shihan), we asked the class, specifically the younger students, what they thought was meant by perseverance. Of course, as is often with younger students, there were a variety of answers.
One of the answers that was given was something akin to “it means you have to have strength”. I indicated at the time that this was a good answer, as is a pretty typical response when one does not fully agree with the answer, or it is simply not the exact answer for which one is looking. However, after awaking this morning, I realized how accurate that was.
While you might not to be built like Arnold Schwarzenegger, there is still a strength that originates within you that is not related to size and muscle.
He did not specify what type of strength, so I am now saying that he was 100% correct in his assertion!
Perseverance requires a tremendous amount of strength – again, this is not strength brought upon by being built like a body builder, but this is the strength to continue to practice, train, and work at the perfection of techniques, the arts, and your personal character.
For example, how many times have we heard things like…
“You can’t do it.”
“Why are you doing that?”
“Person X does that SO much better!”
“You can’t win.”
“Karate is stupid!”
The list goes on… and on…
But it is no sense in listing out all of the negativity that we experience from without (and admittedly, often from within), as this does not help us to persevere.
Bearing these points in mind, it is critical to realize that there are a number of forces that will attempt to weaken our resolve as martial artists, and as human beings. It is up to us to choose strength over weakness…
Growth over decay…
Success over failure…
Perseverance over apathy.
If all of us think about it, we all have elected to persevere at one point or another in our lives, and often times that may have been in relation to the martial arts. Just walking in the door when you may have been intimidated is an example of perseverance.
Getting up after getting hit in sparring demonstrates guts and strength – yet another form of perseverance.
Doing kata in front of a class, making a mistake, and continuing to perform is an example of strength of character – again, a form of perseverance.
Like with the list of challenges and negativity that most of us have dealt with as listed above, the list of ways that we persevere can go on… and on…
And yes, on further! Even further than the list of negativity. For each point of negativity you have been presented with, yet you still drove ahead, you have gotten one point up for the side of perseverance.
Basically, if you have faced 100 negative points, but have chosen to continue, you have persevered no less than 101 times.
All of you, all of us, all that choose to get up and dust themselves off after a challenging class, a loss, or a hard struggle have chosen to be strong. Being strong and persevering are the same thing.
Thank you to the student who made me think about that and brought me to awareness of this just last night.
As always, train hard, respect others, and become what you were meant to become!
Perseverance (Nintai) certainly does require strength!
And karate requires perseverance! One simply will not get very far without it. Waking up with sore muscles after an intense training session once may be okay... counting the bruises from sparring could be a “battle story” to share with friends at first... but eventually the novelty wears off and reality says this is what it’s all about. Having that inner strength to persevere allows us to continue to learn, to continue to train, to reach the next level despite those sore muscles and bruises.
But before you can persevere, you must want to reach that next level. It has to be a goal that you set for yourself deep inside; no one else can set it for you. Then, when you have practiced for months (or years), and you still walk away from class feeling like you had the stuffing beat out of you, wanting to reach that next level will feed the strength, and perseverance will allow you to return to class the next time to train harder.
Without perseverance (and that goal), walking away is easy. That’s not what karate is about.