I love this quotation because it stresses the importance of giving your all – not just in a competition, but every day in practice. To be a lion, we must train with lions – we have to get right in the middle of it. Doubt, ego, embarrassment, and insecurity have to take a back seat. We all start somewhere.
Today I had the fortune to participate in a wrestling class along with some of my fellow Ninjutsu classmates. Wrestling is a completely foreign language to my body, and I LOVE that. I love that it doesn’t matter how much weight I can press in the gym, how many weighted walking lunges I can do… It doesn’t matter that I have trained my whole Life in other sports… Something as simple as shuffling, dropping into a sprawl, and jumping up to take a shot is E X H A U S T I N G.
It is and AMAZING feeling.
Why? Because it reminds us there is always more to learn, and always ways in which we can grow positively.
Some of the students knew more than I did – I respect and appreciate learning from them as much as the Sensei (wrestling, but also Ninjutsu) who was instructing us. I sincerely believe that all of us can learn, and all of us can teach – not only at the dojo, but in all areas of Life.
The irony also holds true – there is a true sense of empowerment born of stepping outside our comfort zone. It’s important to challenge ourselves – physically, emotionally, and spiritually. By so doing we learn, we grow, we enhance the richness of the experience we call Life. Trying something completely new and different is a perfect way to change the pace and avoid plateaus.
After a number of years in three Korean Arts I began to feel that I had some real holes in my training. I believe most all Arts have MORE than enough material – beyond Lifetimes of learning, without question! A person could do only one Art and still have areas to grown and improve – even the Grand Masters. There is no limit, nor perfection, but rather the endless pursuit of learning and movement.
That said, however, each Art has a different focus, leaving other areas exposed. For me, I was lacking in ground skills. I also felt that I had less time for the self defense than I did for offensive techniques. So it was very much a matter of putting my training and rank to the side, donning a white belt, and walking into a new environment all together.
It can absolutely be intimidating – not just for those new to a given sport (Martial Arts, in this case), but also to those with a background! There is anxiety, a huge learning curve, and some discomfort – when an activity is new, it is just par for the course – frankly, I don’t think there is any way to avoid it! But that discomfort is HEALTHY. It is important for our own overall growth! Stepping outside that comfortable zone is vastly more rewarding the security of staying “safe.”
So when it comes to our training…if we are SERIOUS about what we want to achieve, and serious about our learning and growth, we MUST jump in the ring.
It isn’t enough to watch the lions at a distance – we have to get right out there with them, make mistakes, be corrected, and humbled by being at the end of the line. These things keep us grounded, they build a solid foundation, they remind us that there is ALWAYS room to grow.