Monday, June 1, 2009

Stones in the road

Okay, so much for my last post. Long story kept short - I'm back on the mats, and sorry Rizan, you can't have my gi! :-)

What does it feel like to be back training again? In short most of the same emotions are there. I feel elated when I pull off a technique. Other times, relaxed and refreshed after a good workout. Relief when I end the week with no major injuries. Shame when I willfully go a bit too hard and injure my training partner. Anger when I see someone get bullied in class. Melancholy when I think about certain regrets and anxiety when I realise that in my advancing age; it's only going to get tougher

I disagree with those who take a totally one dimensional "banzai" view of training. Who say things like " Dude! I'm gonna train hard forever! Be like the UFC fighters, man!" Most times, I'll put it down to the perceived immortality and invincibility of youth. But like most things in life, it's an illusion

There's a magazine called "BestMan" in my newsagent. It's one of those men's fitness/lifestyle rags which exhort you to eat well, live a full life and maximise your time of this planet. Sounds good, right? It was until I saw the cover, and that's when I laughed out loud - scaring the clerk at the counter. It said:

"Stay young forever'

The problem with our present society is that you can't stay young forever. You will get older. I'm sorry, but all the botox and situps in the world won't change that

We idolise youth and vigour and demonise anything else. So we make it an obsession to maintain what we are doing and exist only to serve ourselves- damn what anyone else is doing or thinking. Thus, it was that way with my martial arts. It was all for me. Do something for yourself. it's about you

Then I realised that the problem with this is that it breeds a negative, self-centered view of the world and yourself. It may be less satifying to give up your training to spend some time for your kids and family but in the end, isn't the world a better place if your son growns up having spent time with his father? A friend in need could benefit from the one hour of your time you could have spent lifting weights. His or her life could be changed as a result

These perceived obstacles are not really barriers to growth - they are assistants to it, actually. They are stones in the road. When you trek a hill path, it can be pretty boring at times. The stones in some of the trails provide a fascinating change to the long, sometimes unending scenery of the road. And at times, they even provide traction and sure footing when the trail is slippery

So, I'm training. Not for myself. But for God. And that is the path that's been laid out for me