ICU – Intensive Care Unit

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You never know when you will get a reminder that you are mortal. Mine came earlier this week. It was a regular day, I woke up, ate breakfast and went off to work, nothing out of the ordinary. Around 11:30 I suddenly got the shakes, it was weird, one minute I felt fine, then I was shaking all over and felt like I was on fire. It ended quickly leaving me feeling slightly odd, but I didn’t seem to have a fever or any other symptoms, so I carried on. Carrying on is one of the things I do best in life, regardless of the sense of it! The event was soon history as I continued with my work, until around 2:00, just as suddenly I was hit with the shakes and a fever. This time they did not dissipate but continued to get worse. By 2:30 I knew I was in trouble, I headed for home and bed. By 4:00 my fever was up to 103.4 and nothing was helping. The rest as they say is history, as my body crashed in the Emergency Room (or as most hospitals call them, Emergency Departments – guess that sounds more professional?) I was desperate for help. I spent the next two days in ICU as they stabilized me and tried to determine a cause. They were successful on the former but not so much the later.

You may wonder why I am sharing this personal story.  Because it has direct bearing on our training and actions as martial artists, personal limits.  When we are healthy and training we often forget we have limitations.  This is easy to do as we are always pushing past our limits to increase our abilities to punch harder, faster, be stronger, lift more, run longer and inevitably we usually succeed…for a time.  In our success at training to stretch our limits we often forget that limits do still exist.  This is often the reason for unnecessary injuries or over estimation of our abilities (a little ego mixed in!).  My most successful students see their limitations and respect them even while challenging them.

As we train it is important to train with situations which cannot be won.  Initially this will seem pointless and frustrating however with time these impossible situations, for example multiple attackers, will become less impossible.  With familiarity the loss will become less demoralizing as the student strives to succeed, at that time the student will begin to recognize the turning point in situation, when winning is less possible without assistance.

It may sound crazy but reflecting on my stay in the ER and ICU that is the wisdom I have to share!

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