As a martial artist, I have this hope in the back of my mind that I will continually get better at what I do. I know that may sound surprising since I am 53, and at this age some martial artists tend to slow down. I feel like I am just getting started.
Where are you in your journey? Whether you are a beginner, or someone who has been involved for 27 years, like me, you are always in the journey. You may earn a black belt, even a few stripes. Those are indicative of your physical skills, which are necessary and important. They are just one part of the journey.
To push beyond your limits does not mean you have to compete, or you have to win, or you need to even take numerous classes a week. What it means is that you should continually strive for new goals. Wearing a black belt should open up opportunities, but also mark new inefficiencies. It is the time when you can really reflect on what you are doing, and why. More than that, it is the chance to engage your fighting spirit in all that you do, in and outside the martial art program.
Every time I kick just slightly higher, or I break a board or piece of concrete, I am actually putting confidence coins in my meter. The color of my belt means little at that moment, because the experience is rewarding in itself. This is a journey moment, and it can happen at any time during your martial art practice. Then, I can apply this confidence and joy to my life. You must focus on experiences, rather than the color of your belt, in order to ever notice it.
I’ve been working on flexibility. I’ve been stretching, and practicing many kicks. I enjoy kicks because I don’t need a lot of time to practice them, they are empowering, and they are a good work-out. They are just one part of my martial art practice, but a part where I try to push beyond my limits. These are the moments when I truly grow as a martial artist.
Today, as you reflect about your practice and your ambitions, remember that each martial art moment has its own tempo and meaning. Don’t overlook the small accomplishments, but understand that without them, you would never be able to push beyond to greater rewards. Each kick, punch, flow, or movement helps you to build your artistry to the level that has significance for you. Don’t stop where you are, but push yourself to be the best that you can be in any given moment.
To push beyond your limits is not easy, but it is rewarding. Even better, you will be surprised at what you can do. I know that I never expected to kick as high as I can, to write a book, or to be featured in magazines, and all of that happened because I pushed beyond my limits.
Now, it’s your turn.
The Martial Arts Woman