When most of us are asked for an example of courage, we think of soldiers charging enemy lines, people fighting cancer, ancestors setting off in a covered wagon or across an ocean into the wild unknown, hoping to make a better life for their families. All of these examples are celebrated and honored, as they should be. But we mustn’t forget the smaller acts of bravery and fortitude that are present in our everyday lives that deserve respect and recognition as well.
Martial arts and the concept of courage are closely intertwined. The military applications are obvious. Fighters stepping into a boxing ring or MMA cage are another clear example of courage in martial arts. On a more subtle level, martial artists are taught to defend what is right, to have integrity and act to defend one’s beliefs in spite of physical or social backlash. Additionally, training in martial arts requires its own kind of courage, for everyone who trains in a martial art, regardless of whether it’s BJJ or kickboxing or Kali or Krav Maga, has techniques that are more physically or mentally more difficult for him or her. Everyone at some point has psychological blocks; everyone has days where it feels like nothing goes right, and we all get discouraged and frustrated. Coming back the next day, persevering through frustration, facing fears, and continuing on a path while experiencing opposition and temporary failure is crucial for everyone in training and in life. Keep in mind, “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.’”- Mary Anne Radmacher. Don’t overlook or discount the spirit it takes to step on the mat day after day when you’re having a difficult time. That fortitude and determination builds your strength of character, making you better as a martial artist and more importantly as a person. Acknowledge that courage in yourself, and be proud of it!
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