I don’t like running !

I have to admit it – I don’t like running. I do however like what running provides in terms of training both on a physical and mental platform. So ….I decided to run to the dojo this Saturday morning. I haven’t being doing a heap of running lately, and this particular run I have only undertaken twice previously. Both times, this run had taken me approx 20 mins. However, this time, I was behind schedule (I was going to say running late…but the pun was too corny) and now I only had x 15 mins to get to the dojo to open up for first class of the day. Yay !

Not making excuses, but no warm up, no breakfast apart from a piece of toast and a glass of coffee was not a good way to set up. Normally I would take my time in the morning knowing I had three and a half hours of teaching coming up to have a good meal and proper fluid intake. But not this day. No time. So off I set. I began the run on a bit of a downhill so the pace was quick at the get go. I would say about 2 mins in …my lungs hadn’t caught up with my legs and I felt like i wanted to gasp a bit for air. But….reminding myself this is a normal response….I pushed on. Next call out was from my legs still sore from the squats and lunges the day before. Again, reminding myself that once they warmed up and got into the swing of things, they would feel better I pushed on.

Knowing I was going to struggle to make it on time, before I left I had sent a student a text message who I knew would drive past me on the way to class, and told him to pick me up on the way if he saw me. My pace was fast and i think in my mind I thought I could push it pretty hard as I would soon be collected by car . It’s funny what goes on in our minds if we listen.

I would imagine about 7 mins in (not sure of exact times) I really wanted to stop and walk. So I did. Then I thought….what if (student) drives past and sees me walking !  That would look so bad….so with that thought In mind I picked up my feet and began running again. I would say that scenario took about 30 secs to unfold. And there in lies a motivational tool……imagining what others will think and say, and how I feel about that.

Now I’m still setting a pace which is fast for me. It’s hurting and I’m digging deep and then I’m starting to wonder if and when (student) is going to come past and put me out of my misery. My mind is wandering and now I think……am I going to make it on time. I think about my students waiting at the door….wondering where i am ….and convince myself to keep going. Now that I have decided to keep on pushing…..and with time my motivation I start to get into a bit of a groove. Breathing has settled and I have a bit of a rhythm going. Feeling more comfortable now……………And then comes the hill.

Coincidence or not just as the hill starts, the Eminem song ‘Till I Collapse’ comes on my playlist and the words in that drive me to really work up that hill. I stop thinking about walking this part of the run, and find something which I had in reserve. And now my mind really starts going. See that’s what I do love about running. Once you get going……there is really nothing to think of in terms of technique. Sure….if you are trying to correct posture or stride etc you could concentrate on that, but otherwise you can just really find the zone and go. In this place…your mind is free to wander. To sort out the events of the day…to completely drift off and just be…..or like me, to play mental challenge games with yourself because you suck at running. It’s during one of those mental moments when my mind ticks over to this :

If you are training hard enough, there will always come a time when you will reach a point where it will be so tough and demanding that the thought of quitting enters your mind. It’s at this time that the real training begins. The type that changes and grows you. It’s always at this point where success lies. Out of your comfort zone. And it’s amazing….at that point when you make the choice to not quit, to persevere and win, it gets easier. You get your second wind and things start to work and your energy returns. You run not on adrenaline…but something else. Something in your spirit urges you on and success breeds more success. Winning makes you want to win more and you go until you reach that quitting point again. This time though…..because you’ve been there before and tasted success….it’s easier to push past that point. Not easy…..but easi-er.

It’s also worth noting that I do believe that with all training (martial arts, weight lifting, and all other sports that push us) these lessons and attitudes transfer over to our everyday lives. Sometimes life can get really tough. We might struggle financially, lose our job, get sick or injured, have issues with our children, we might be lied to or cheated on, we might lose a loved one or see our dreams seemingly get further and further away from us. But here is that point again. Here is our choice to dig down deep…..to get out of our comfort zone….trust in our self and push to the point of victory. And then…..hopefully….we just keep on winning.

And all that…..from one run !     Maybe I do like running after all !

And for those that want to know…Yes :- I made it in time. Shaved 5 mins off my previous run time.

Osu. KB

My theory about Nothing !

So today at the end of the Junior Karate class we had extended sparring time for those students getting ready to partake in the next Victorian Kyokushin Championships. After class, I noticed a few of the kids very tired, and some of them had worn kicks to the head and complained about being hit etc. Albeit they were all fine, they were obviously not happy about these things. Before bowing off, I had a bit of a chat to the kids and I thought I would put those thoughts down here as it it worth remembering the following points. For all students : Juniors and Adults alike !

There are three types of people you get to sparr in the dojo.

The first is the one you can push around. Perhaps you are stronger or maybe you are better technically (not necessarily higher ranked) and they generally don’t give you too much of a challenge. After sparring, you feel quite happy with yourself and perhaps a little bit superior. However, apart from you perhaps exercising control – you don’t really learn much sparring this person. It may be that in this case, it is you teaching them.

The Second one is the person who is just like you. You are both fairly evenly matched in terms of weight, strength and or skill, and sparring is good. You can both apply pressure to each other. Some nights they win, some nights you.  You most probably enjoy sparring with this person, and afterwards you feel good. However, depending on the night you may or may not have learnt much from that encounter. Of course, if we are paying attention, there is always something to learn – but that becomes a choice and you probably were enjoying sparring too much to stop and think 🙂

The third person is the one who you don’t like sparring. They always seem to beat you to the punch (excuse the pun) , they block all your efforts to score, and sometimes you get hurt and I don’t meant injured – just a little hurt.  However – This is the person who teaches you the most !!!!  If you have to work so hard to score or defend, and dig into the bottom of your training barrel….then this is where you learn ! Pressure is the way diamonds are made. Pressure and time under pressure.  Don’t shy away from this person. Jump at the chance to sparr them and know that in the end you will only end up better.

In other words – if it feels like Nothing – then it’s probably doing nothing for you !

There is a great quote which sais, if it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you. How true in terms of Martial Arts training.

The other thing we need to be aware of during Kumite is the meaning of hurt.  We need to separate our ego and emotions from the physicality of pain. I believe it’s a great life skill for both kids and Adults and definitely anyone wanting to compete full contact- to be able to understand when the body is hurt – or when it is our ego/heart/ mind that is suffering from a blow. Next time you are sparring , take note of if and when you get hit. How does it really feel ?  is it pain stopping you from continuing or are you just upset that someone else is gaining control ?
Do you feel like you are losing and so want to quit?  or do you brush it off and say Osu – good one to your training partner and continue on ?

In terms of kids- this is a valuable skill for the school yard. If ever placed in a situation where they are being physically bullied – often it is the emotion that loses them the battle. To empower them to know if it is ego or emotion making them feel pain – we give them the skills to stand up and stay stronger and fight back only if necessary. It’s important to teach kids that fighting is not the answer- but strength of mind and resolve – and to not show fear to a bully is very important.

And just to finish- all this reminded me of Sosai Oyama’s 10th Motto :-  ” The true essence of the Martial Way can only be realized through experience. Knowing this, learn never to fear it’s demands “.

And so….here endeth another training day. Osu. Kiley