The Easy Way Out

Lately……I keep getting hit in the face – and not just in class!
I mean by reality. By the harsh truth that I truly believe we have mostly become a world full of corner cutters. (that’s the nicest word I could think of. There were plenty of others in mind…but this is a family show)
To me it seems that a majority of the population wants a quick fix. An easy solution and nobody wants to go through discomfort or pain anymore. It’s illogical and stupid to think this way. I know it’s cliche’ but we all must experience pain to know joy. And we need pain to grow. Yep……in every way shape and form.

The evidence is all around us. Every day I get told….Oh I really want to get fit, and tone up (which is really not possible as toning isn’t real – it’s called losing fat and building muscle) But I don’t have time and your classes are too hard for me. So……what you are saying is that you don’t want it that bad? Yep….that’s why there is this magical pill hitting the market whereby the makers and the shareholders will make ridiculous amounts of money by people getting skinny but not healthy and forced to live on this medication forever. And….this is because nobody wants to go through the pain of exercise and eating healthy. And…Yes… can be uncomfortable at times, and it might feel painful, and yes you might get sore muscles….but you will get used to the feeling and possibly learn to love it. I don’t mean to say that every training session a person does needs to be drenched in sweat and vomit city and so hard you can’t walk the next day – but it would be close. You do have to work your body hard. You do have to make big changes to see big changes and that might mean sometimes it’s uncomfortable. But is uncomfortable that bad ? What’s the alternative? I’d rather have a sore back from training and be healthy knowing that my pain is temporary, than be overweight, have no cardiovascular health and be in pain because of that. Wouldn’t you ?

And what about peoples reaction to getting sick. Why is reaching for a bottle of this or a pill for this so many people’s first response? Given proper nutrition and rest, your body will heal most minor (and some major) ailments. Often…..the medication taken prohibits the bodies natural response to illness and circumvents it’s own efforts to eliminate the virus or dis-ease that has been allowed to manifest. People will say…oh it’s because I have to soldier on, go to work. This is a stupid mentality as now you are perhaps spreading your illness when you should keep it at home, plus you will most likely lengthen the duration of the illness you were trying to avoid in the first place. Maybe……we are supposed to get a cold every now and then. Maybe it’s our bodies way of de-toxifying ? I don’t know. But I do think that pill popping etc is another way for people to avoid being uncomfortable. I’m not saying we should want to be sick…..not at all. It’s horrible and I don’t like it…and even more so I really dislike seeing my kids sick as I am sure most parents do- but Let’s think about what Grandma would have done sometimes. Maybe even stop for a second and take a look around at your friends, your family and think….who are the ones who are sick most often ….and who are the one’s opting for the quick fixes. You might see a pattern.

My next rant is about kids and how it seems that schooling and some trendy parenting today is all about preventing everything. Is it really a horrible thing to lose? Why must everyone that goes in a race be a winner? It’s just not a real representation of life to think that there aren’t winners and losers. I’m happy that when I was at school …you had to work hard for a certificate. To earn a place or a ribbon was worth fighting for. Yeah sure…..there were plenty of thing’s I was terrible at, and this was uncomfortable to deal with, but you get over it. You learn to fight harder and try harder and you learn to brush thing’s off. You also learn that everyone is not good at everything…and you look harder to find what you ‘are’ good at.

Punishments for bad behavior seem to also be frowned upon and in place is adult conversation’s….about feelings and yada yada. Again…..I’m not saying bring back the strap, but consequence needs to be taught. You can’t have an adult conversation with a 5 year old. Simple things like having to clean up after class or stay inside at playtime or at home….things such as Ipods etc being confiscated help kids to learn about consequences of action. Then…later when the child begin’s to understand …then the conversation about feelings etc can happen. Lesson….then reflection. This however takes time to implement and are we too busy to do this? or is it we don’t like these uncomfortable and confrontational situations ? Is it easier to just let stuff slide? My main point here is that we want to protect our kids…but are we helping or hindering them by trying too hard to stop them from ever having a bad experience? Being picked on is awful…but with supportive parents and also teachers this experience can be a learning curve for kids that will serve them through to adulthood. We must learn to deal with confrontation and loss and bad experiences. It’s how we grow as people emotionally. Of course….this is merely scratching the surface in this area….and I don’t claim to be any kind of expert.

This is why I love martial arts. For adults and for kids. Because it’s difficult. Because often we are pushed to points of failure. These might on the surface seem like losses, but really they are lessons. Every class and each training session we are given the opportunity to test and improve ourselves. It’s about turning up when we don’t want to. When it’s too hard. It’s about making commitments and honoring them. It’s about getting hurt, and continuing anyway. It’s about finding out our weaknesses, but also that we are more powerful than we thought possible. It’s about being disciplined. In and out of the dojo. It’s about giving up a social life to train for an impending grading. About scheduling homework time after school so you can make it to class on time because a test or comp is coming up. Parents need to help kids with this one. Yep….parents need to be disciplined too. It’s about taking kids to training when you can’t be bothered – because they watch and imitate your behavior. All these things forge an attitude that serves both in and out of the dojo. How much better will a child perform at school with strength of character and a disciplined mind and life?
How much better will and adult handle life and work and stress with these qualities?

I personally know that Karate and Martial Arts has saved my life. Not on the street in combat fortunately, but there are times when I know that If i didn’t possess the ability to push beyond my toughest boundaries…I would have quit on a few occasions. I know the 7 times down 8 times up mentality that I have tattooed on my body is ingrained on my soul…and that has come not from avoiding being in pain or uncomfortable, but by not taking the easy way out. I’m no soldier. And I’m not the toughest or the greatest at anything. But I thank my lucky stars every day that I walked into a martial arts school back in 1994.

Osu No Seishin.

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