Finding Your Limits

ktadmin Post in A Zen Thing, Training notes

“If the body is the limit,
the spirit can go even further

Shigeru Egami

There are dangers in learning to control your Self.  As Martial Artists we strive to control our physical, mental and spiritual selves.  Obviously this is a perpetual journey since to be in total control of those three aspects of your life is first impossible however it’s pursuit requires never ending practice.  Religious beliefs aside, even the Dali Lama must practice everyday is disciplines, ironic for those with wit, yes, but never the less it makes the point that practice needs to be a way of life if we are ever to approach perfection.  But as I stated there is a danger, one I know to well.  With every skill we gain comes responsibility, to others and to ourselves.  In learning to control our Self in any or all of the three areas that control can be used for good or for bad purposes.  The bad purposes for personal gain by harming others seem pretty self explanatory so I will skill that discussing.  Let’s face it if you don’t get that part then anything I write surely isn’t going to dissuade your misguided life.  But what bad purposes can we apply the skills we gain to controlling our Selves that could cause personal harm?  Simply stated by using them to facilitate self-abuse.  I am speaking from personal experience now.  I have used what I have learned in the Martial Arts for a lot of good but I have also used much of what I have learned to compensate for some of my personal weaknesses.  In my case physical (health) weaknesses.  This is something that I am just now acknowledging though I have known it for a long time.  My purpose here is to ask you to reflect on your own actions in perspective to mine.  Currently I am healthy and have been for a long time now, however I have bad habits from when my health was less than good.  During that time in my life my body was very limited in what it could handle but my mind and my spirit wanted more.  I learned through self-control that I could use my mind and spirit to override my body’s weaknesses.  I learned to push myself well beyond it’s natural limits, obviously this came with a price.  For me, five major surgeries, 28 weeks *in* the hospital and countless more time recovering at home.  That life is fortunately behind me and with Jesus’ blessing it will stay behind me yet I know how to push my body to extreme exhaustion and through significant pain.  Some might think this a great thing and in the short term they might be right.  I imagine that is the ability that Silvester Stallone envisioned when he created the Rocky character.  But what if Rocky applied that ability to every aspect of his life?  Whether out of necessity or not it could become a detrimental habit. And as we Martial Artists know all to well it often takes far longer to overcome a bad habit or incorrectly learned technique then it does to just learn it correctly the first time.  I’m happy to say that I’m living proof that you can succeed and in doing so learn to use your skills for the good of yourself and others.  But like everything else it takes practice, perseverance and self-awareness.

Now I know that is not what Shigeru Egami meant in the above quote but the truth is that while the spirit can go further than the limits of the body, the body can easily be driven past its limits by the will of the spirit.  As I’ve outlined there is a danger in this however it is also a necessary ingredient in the life of a Champion, my goal is to turn my focus on improving my life as a Champion not a chump!

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