Zen Martial Arts Center

Sacramento Martial Arts and Karate

Sore. Achy. Grouchy. Sunday's everything hit like a ton of bricks but I pushed through to finish the daily requirements before class. Even a little prideful that I did 6 miles instead of 3. My knees are suffering for my pride... Then in class we did a third set of exercises. Yes. A third set. All but the last crunches were completed to add to my suffering pride.

My lesson for today is a very human one with a little back story.

For a long time, I really believed "fake it til you make it" with a positive smile is the only way to attack a problem. It is both a family value and survival tactic to fake it positively until it gets better or you adapt into the situation. "Fake it til you make it" works most days. A smile really does help you face the situation at hand with a more positive outlook. Yet the last couple days, and my psychology degree, have taught me the value of the human experience.

Sometimes, every now and then, when things are really tough, its okay to be in pain. Times like these a joke like, "It could be worse" or "At least you're still alive" doesn't help. It hurts. Deeply. That joke is invalidating the experience of pain. Yesterday I needed to really feel just exactly what I was feeling. It also helps to share that experience with someone. My friend listening to my very genuine frustrations, and sharing a hot meal with anime on the television was exactly the "therapy" I needed to overcome the day.

A day like today, Day 6, with an old shoulder injury literally flaring up, knees wobbly, head dizzy, mouth dry, tummy muscles protesting, emotions of all kinds screaming against mushin, and personal issues bulging out of my shoes, a very human day like today makes the Ultimate Black Belt Test the ultimate challenge.

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Comment by Mike Oliver on December 8, 2010 at 11:35am
"Fake it until you make it" is something that I learned from Master Joslin. It's less about putting up a facade and more about changing your mindset. It's about taking control and accepting ownership of your thoughts and feelings. Some of us have had similar experiences. Some of us have puked on the dojo floor, passed out, broken bones, and torn ligaments in our training. Stay positive!

On a side note, I recommend looking into Miyamoto Musashi's "Book of Five Rings" and in particular the concept of a 'resolute acceptance of death'.

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