Pain and Gain

It’s funny how you can ‘know’ something for so long, perhaps almost a whole life, but then one day you ‘live’ that thing and all of a sudden it all makes sense. The penny drops,cha-ching.
We have all heard the saying ” What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger”. I like the sentiment and have been known to throw that one around at various times, but in reality, the saying has flaws.
You see…..every day things happen that don’t kill us….but neither do they change us.

The thing’s which DO change us, that really do make us stronger are those thing’s that push us beyond our normal limits,which force us to struggle. We must undergo difficulty in order to grow.

In nature, I guess this could be compared to the process of natural selection.Those of the species which best adapt to the environment, that overcome stresses and challenges survive. The strong which survive then breed and so hence the growth of a stronger and more resillient population, herd, tribe, community, ecosystem, whatever term best describes.

In the gym, referring to resistance based training, weight lifting, hypertrophy, Power Lifting, etc then perhaps this is the basis for the SAID principal. Specific Adaptation to Increased Demands. Our bodies are smart and they have a memory and we are programed to survive. Our very nature is to prevail. So…when our bodies undergo stress…certain processes occur to ensure that the next time this happens….we are better prepared. I guess another way to explain is that very simply put, when we lift weights and apply stress to the muscle, damage occurs. It is through the process of re-buliding this muscle that strength and size is gained.

As a person, Emotionally, when we go through hardships we tend to learn. We learn about how our mind reacts and we learn about our mental programming. We also learn that we can endure, and that all things pass eventually, and through this we understand that we are durable and changeable and can weather a storm or two. Next time, as we have been there before…..we understand that the pain of losing someone, having an argument, being betrayed, being misunderstood or perhaps being weak and hurting another person……that no matter how bad it is, we can make it like we did last time. We recognise a pattern, and being stronger 2nd time around, can make better choices this time.

The thing I love about Martial Arts is that it covers all the bases.
In one hard class alone we could touch on all areas. We can challenge our self beleifs (I can’t do another push up and then you do, or I’m awesome….only to get beaten that night) , our own inner deamons. We can challenge our fears (oh….i don’t want to sparr this person , they are better than me, or i’ll never be able to last that grading..then we do). We can push ourselves so hard physically that we are in pain. We can demand of our body thing’s we never thought we could do (like an 8 hour grading with 40 rounds of contact sparring) and when we make it out the other side our strength is resolved. Our mind is determined and our body is built that little bit better and is that little bit more prepared to fight.

Struggle is what makes us if it doesn’t break us.
But consider this – even if we are broken (just like our muscles after a heavy gym session) with the right amount of love, medicine (let your food be thy medicine and thy medicine your food),rest and recovery (meditation, sleep, time alone or with friends) and a small amount of Will and drive – we can and will be restored to something better than we were before.

Not that movies have anything to do with this…but every Movie Hero had a hardship.
It’s always the fall then the rise and we love those stories ! The loss made the win SO much more gratifying. We don’t respect people who had it handed to them and often they don’t respect themselves. So :-

Knowing all this, In the midst of your hardest training session,
when you find yourself being beaten in the ring,
when the odds are stacked against you,
When you feel like you have been left with nothing,
When you feel you can’t go on, or get up after being knocked down
smile….and remind yourself that it’s moments like these (no…you don’t need minties)
But you can and will survive and grow.