We all have our crosses to bear in life. We all face our own unique stresses, pressures and frustrations. Sometimes they are small enough that they can be muted when we step into the dojo and set about our training. On other occasions they creep out against our will, sometimes in startling dramatic fashion, but facing our demons is a good exercise for the martial artist and an important part of our mental development.
Demons Come in All Forms
Our demons, whether they are challenges in our jobs, our relationships, our bodies, our minds, etc, can lead to challenges in our training. Sometimes we have more trouble paying attention because we’re distracted by our demons. Other times, we have trouble getting our body to do what we want it to. We can feel more irritable losing patience with oursleves and others. On a really tough day, we can completely lose control of our emotions and break into tears when put under pressure physically or emotionally in our training, or even just from a kind gesture that opens our emotional flood gate. I’ve seen all of these happen in some form over the years.
A Safe Haven for Demon Exorcism
Rather than hiding yourself away when your demons are showing themselves, it’s a good practice to get yourself to the dojo and keep yourself on your usual training schedule. The distraction can help you deal with challenging mental states, and training through troubled times can add a different edge to your training that helps you become a better martial artist and person. In a good martial arts school, you can take on your demons with the support of your instructors and fellow students. So if you do face your demons in your training, you can know you’ll have the support and understanding if you aren’t your usual self on the mats. If you’re really comfortable with your training partners and instructors, it’s a good idea to let people know if you’re feeling a little off and to let them know what you need in order to train safely, whether it’s taking it a bit easier, needing to step off the mat without warning, or even just needing a bit of time alone beating on a heavy bag.
Take Time Off When Time Off Is Needed
Some things will just be so much that you need to take time off the mats. You know yourself better than anyone else. If you think you’re feeling so mentally checked out that you could pose a safety concern to yourself or others or that you need to spend time focusing directly on the thing that has give you a challenging mental state, then do what you have to do. The dojo will be waiting for you when you’re ready.
Now over to you. Have you ever trained through a challenging mental state? If so, what did you learn from the experience? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.