In the journey of life, we struggle, face challenges, and fail. Such is reality and the journey of a martial artist is of no exception.
Perfection simply does not exist for a martial artist— at least never in a pure form. Imperfection, however, exists in abundance. Martial artists encounter defeat, discouragement, fear, incompetence, and injuries. They get hit, submitted, feel pain, and dominated. They are constantly drained physically and mentally.
All of this will happen irrespective of talent, experience, or abilities. And in this sense, we fall down.
The fall becomes particularly painful because of the tendency to idealize and romanticize situations. Often, this is done without a proper consideration of the grit required in achieving excellence. To be a successful martial artist, one must face and overcome a great fear and reality: we are inadequate.
The fear of failure will always have profound implications. Those who cannot face failure and inadequacy will as of result succumb to it. It’s real tricky because in one way or another, we will always be inadequate.
But this is exactly why an indomitable spirit is so important. When we fall, we have to get back up. When we fail, we have to keep going. We must learn from defeat and see it as an opportunity for growth. On our quest towards excellence, we must endure and persevere. There is no other way to achieve mastery.
In other words, we have to be uncomfortable, fall, and fail in order to succeed. This is the interpretation that the Japanese proverb, “Fall down seven times, get up eight” inspires out of me.
To become a successful martial artist, I must be patient, courageous, and opportunistic. I must endure failure and I must grow comfortable of the discomfort I experience.
Ultimately, I must fall in order to get up.
While I never truly understood the famous Nelson Mandela quote...
I do believe that those who conquer the fear of inadequacy will become powerful beyond measure.
In the great words of Fedor, whom I considered the greatest ever, “the one who doesn’t fall never stands up”. Though Fedor did not continue his reign after this quote, I firmly believe that the above interpretation correctly embodies his philosophy towards life.
Inspired by Jack Slack via mixedmartialarts.com