Martial Arts: Life Lessons
I’ve been in love with learning martial arts since I was a little kid. And I wanted to be a black belt champion more than I wanted to breathe. So, I trained really hard for a long time and eventually, I made my dream a reality.
I found a huge inspiration in Bruce Lee who was an undefeated martial artist and an amazing person with multiple talents. And the thing that I loved about him then and still do, is that in addition to focus on all the physical skills, he, very uniquely also spoke about internal training. Lessons that I learned from him to lead a better life have made a lot of impact in my decision-making process.
As you’ve known from my previous posts that I am a very big fan of superheroes and always wanted to become one as a kid and he was the real-life inspiration for that. Once he said something which moved me from the core and that was something I would like to call a ‘secret to become a superhero’.
“Wishing to cultivate yourself, first rectify your heart. Wishing to rectify your heart, seek to be sincere in your thoughts. Wishing to be sincere in your thoughts, first extend the utmost of your knowledge (this lies in the investigation of things). Discard all thoughts of reward, all hopes of praise and fears of blame, all awareness of one are bodily self and let your spirit out as it will.”
Even though these words by him are a bit spiritual and hard to understand at first but all it means is that we all have an untapped power inside of us, our true potential and we just need to access that.
A lot of people confuses competitive fighters with violent people and that wasn’t the case for me. I fought because I wanted to confront the deeper truth about who I was. In the ring, you can’t hide from your opponent or your true self. When there is a real threat in front of you, then you will find the real extent of your courage and how you deal with fear.
And over the years what I learned from this martial art is that the only thing you can ever control in response to a hard situation is your reaction and your thinking and I’ve used that tip in my number of fights. Sometimes, you get knocked down and things go wrong but you have the choice when you get there, either you stay down and break mentally or you can stand up and redeem yourself.
I always wanted to find out what I was made for real. I fought because it taught me the unequivocal truth that when you are in the ring and try to face your fear, it becomes unavoidable but first you have to get into the ring and that’s the scariest part. When you are warming up in the dressing room before a fight, all you can smell is fear. That time your mind can be the worst enemy. Before you get out there and face your opponent, your opponent becomes you. You have to learn to control your emotions under pressure. It’s like going for the biggest, scariest, job interview in the entire world which you really want but there’s a very big chance that you might get killed when you go there. You have to learn to turn the volume down on emotions like fear and doubt because it might become your biggest enemy and turn the volume up for your strength and confidence.
In order to feel brave, when you need to feel that all it takes is 10 seconds of courage to walk out to the ring and face your opponent. When you look them in the eye you know exactly who you are. There’s no room for pretending that you’re tough if you are not. Your truth gets exposed in fights but you have to face the battle head on and you can’t run away. You have to do whatever it takes to survive.
When you are getting punched in the face whether it’s in the ring in a fight or metaphorically by your life, it doesn’t hurt any less if you close your eyes. In fact, if you turn away from that pain usually the impact is worse. Some shots are unavoidable but it’s how we take those shots that matter.
While practicing martial arts I got the opportunity to deal with my pain and fight through it. Things that we don’t like to face like pain and fear, they control and weaken us from inside out. But pain and fear also provide an opportunity to know yourself better. Sometimes when you are most afraid you might become the strongest version of yourself.
My training has taught me this, the most important lesson I always follow in life and that is, it’s not the whole event that requires courage but usually the very first part. It’s just getting over that initial scary bit of the big hard thing that you’ve got to do. If you can do that you’ve just made your task much easier.
Sometimes the strongest moment of your life won’t happen in front of a crowd or a shiny title belt waiting for you at the end, it might just happen quietly inside you. But none of these lessons will mean a damn thing unless you prepare to live them.