Much of my life had been spent getting knocked down. Perhaps more will come, but in recent years I have experienced a transformation. We need the courage to get up and take it on the jaw, get dropped to the mat, and get up yet again. This persistence remains critical. But my confidence grows that the degree to which we must be knocked down softens as we become more malleable.
It’s easy to throw and sweep most beginners in grappling because of how rigid their tension fixes their bodies in place, and for the same reason, it’s easy to knock down and out novice (or enraged) strikers. Over time, practice and experience, we learn to confluently absorb and blend to attacks to lessen their impact and to capture and exploit their force to our (mutual) resolution.
Like yoga, athletics, and meditation, martial art is a micro of the macro, with all of life’s lessons encoded in it.
We must learn to get up, get knocked down, and get up again and again. Without this persistence, we will not have the opportunity to learn how to absorb, blend, and confluently resolve our challenges, and never unlock the opportunities within them. This lesson has been clearly reflected in my relationships, my personal growth, my vocational development, my finances, and that of those I mentor. So my confidence grows that though we must get up again and again, eventually we will learn how to fight less. Like in grappling, we defend but without struggling.
When I was a child, I began martial art not to learn how to fight, as I was unfortunately intimately aware of violence. I began martial art so I could learn to STOP fighting. You cannot flee confrontation. You must turn and face it directly to most effectively resolve it. But my confidence grows that in all things, although you may not be able to end the need for resistance, you can become sufficiently pliable to absorb it with confluence. Like my teacher has told me personally, you may be in pain again, but you no longer need to suffer in the pain.
I may again be knocked to the ground to learn the opportunity within a challenge , but the courage to stand again and again has given me the chance to gain confidence that getting up is only the means, only part of a greater process. I no longer doubt that we CAN get up. We can. So, get up. But, let’s not merely get up, but let’s get through… and with grace.
Getting through gracefully is the real black belt. As a result, I’m finding that we are no longer being compelled to relearn the hard lesson that we can get up, and discover that our opponents don’t provide an obstacle to growth, for they are the challenge which allows us to adapt and grow. We can get up. We can grow from the challenge. So now, let’s learn how to get through, and transform these challenges into collective opportunities for something even greater.
I grow more and more confident that we are specifically placed into circumstances to steward a greater outcome, by not merely getting up, but getting through with grace.