Courage is the basis for creative expression, but there is no courage without fear.
If what we are doing is not challenging us, if it is not difficult, if we are not slightly uncomfortable, if our goals are not slightly out of our reach, we cannot say that we are being courageous. Courage requires some sort of danger. It requires risk. It requires fear.
This does not mean that we should constantly put ourselves in positions to be hurt or injured. Being reckless is not being courageous. What it does mean is that we must not sit still. We must not rest on our past accomplishments or accolades. We must constantly push ourselves beyond our capacity, beyond our limits, and beyond our current skill level. This is frightening.
It is frightening to try something that we may fail at. It is frightening to step away from the pack. It is frightening to step off the beaten path. It is frightening to face doubt, criticism, and cynicism, both from within ourselves and from others, to acknowledge it and to act in spite of it. It is frightening to be courageous. That is the point.
Holistic Budo: As it is in budo, so too it is in life. As it is in life, so too it is in budo.
-Robert Van Valkenburgh is co-founder of Taikyoku Mind & Body and Kogen Dojo where he teaches Taikyoku Budo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
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