Regardless of your religious or spiritual beliefs, the Christmas holiday is important in the sense that it also marks the Winter Solstice: the turning point between the shortening and lengthening of daylight hours.
As a martial artist, especially one who pursues competitive success or exceptional advancement, you will have cycles of both dark and bright times in your career.
These cycles may play out over the course of days, sometimes even over the course of months or years. But once you go through a few of them, you come to understand two truths:
Bad times don’t last. And neither do the good times, either..
Too often we only appreciate and focus on the good times, as if training should be something that exclusively rewards us and serves our immediate needs. And when we hit that part of the cycle where things start to lose their shine a bit, we internalize that and apply some additional meaning to it — “I’m no good at this,” “This is too hard,” “I’m getting worse,” “I’m wasting my time,” etc.
The reality is that you can’t have the good times without the bad, and in many ways the bad times aren’t really even that bad. They are just simply challenging.
And isn’t that what we signed up for — a challenge?
October of this year marked my 18th anniversary of training in both Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai. I have seen and experienced a lot in those years. I have enjoyed amazing highs, and suffered some crushing lows.
My most important takeaway from all of it, though, is this: just keep going. I know, that seems like a cop-out answer, but it’s true. Unlike in the movies, there’s no scroll of wisdom at the end of the road filled with complex and profound truths. In fact, the road doesn’t even end.
The wisdom comes from appreciating your surroundings and simply putting one foot in front of the other. The complex and profound truths you seek are all around you, at all times, even now. There is something to learn from every aspect of your experience, if you will allow yourself to see it.. whether the sun is shining or not.