Wednesday, February 11, 2015


noun: perseverance
1  steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.  

The journey on the path of Budo can be trying at times. 

When your training plans get derailed, be it from injuries, family issues, scheduling, monetary constraints, time, distance, work etc., it can be challenging to get back on track.  Obviously, I haven’t posted in some time.  I was shocked to see how long it had been.  The last (nearly) a year has been a struggle for me.

I’ve suffered several injuries, some new and some nagging ones that refuse to go away.  Couple this with work issues, illness, geographic issues (my Sensei is further away now), and competitions for my time and energy and I’ve found myself in a state of…not quite depression, but at the least, severe frustration with my training and my long term martial goals. 

It has seemed as if each time I take one step forward, I’m forced to take two steps back. 

The logical part of my brain tells me this is all part of the journey, which takes time and patience and perseverance to succeed.  That it’s a lifelong pursuit and there will be bumps along the way.  That I need to adapt my training style to manage my injuries and that I need to concentrate on time-management, on eating well, sleeping more, meditating.  The list goes on and on.  Exactly the advice I’d give to someone else who was going through a tough time with their training.

The not-so-logical part of brain has not been particularly good at listening to the logical side, however.  Each time I aggravated an old injury, or pulled my back, or got sick, or had to choose between my other priorities in life or had to cancel class as I couldn’t get away from work, I got more and more down about things.  All the positive self-talk in the world didn’t pull me out of my dark mood. 

It became so bad that I realized that training, or thinking about training, was turning into a negative thing in my head.  This journey of so many years, this labour of love, was akin to a virus running in the background, eating away at my positivity.  Training was becoming a bad thing. 

The logical side, or course, knew that all the issues I was going through were contributing to my general malaise over the martial arts, but that doesn’t always help.  My journey has given me so many positive experiences; it has truly enriched my life, giving me friends and memories I will always cherish.

I did what I had to.  I quit for a bit.  Well, let’s call it a hiatus.  I know I can never quit, but I had to ‘unplug’ for a bit as my lack of training was starting to consume my waking, and non-waking, thoughts.  I was mad when I couldn’t go, and when I could, I was exhausted and had to manage injuries and just didn’t feel like it.

So, I’ve been on hiatus.  There was a certain sense of relief that washed over me when I actually ‘went on record’ about taking a break.  My Sensei and main training partner were understanding and supportive.  Sensei’s response?  Simply, “We’ll be here”.  Meaning he’s always there when I’m ready, no pressure.  Comfort in that. 

I’m not back yet but I’m almost there, mentally.  I’m still dealing with injuries and other issues, but lately, after putting Jiu Jitsu out of my mind for a few months, my thoughts have been drifting back.  I miss it again, not pressured by any sense of obligation, but because something positive is missing from my life.  I’m noticing a fight scene in a show or movie that I rewind and break down, I’ve started visiting some blogs again, and I’ve been consulting on defensive tactics training again.  My next step is adjusting my training to compensate for my injuries. 

Take note:  Train safely now.  Crazy training in your youth takes its toll down the road…trust me…

I’m learning an important lesson about perseverance, I think.  As it pertains to training, perseverance doesn’t translate into constant training.  It means not giving up completely or losing site of the big picture.  If you need to press ‘pause’ from time to time in order to keep going, do it.  The path is long and winding and there’ll always be a few bumps along the way.

I know many of you out there have had low points/struggles on your journeys in the martial arts.  I’d love to hear some of the strategies you used to get back in the game, both mentally and physically. 

Please feel free to leave a comment or send me an email.
Train well.  Be safe,