Self defense starts with taking care of ourselves and our partners on the mats so that everyone gets stronger through training, not weaker through injury.
It is good to train hard, to push ourselves, and test ourselves in practice, but it must always be remembered that it is just practice. The goal of practice is to improve, to get stronger, to get faster, and to be better tomorrow than we were yesterday. Beyond that, the goal is to do this for a long time, so that our progress, and that of our training partners, never stops.
If we train to the point of injury, either our own or our partners’, progress is halted. The saying ‘pain is weakness leaving the body’ may be true, but the opposite is also true. That is to say, injury is weakness entering the body.
Injuries do not make us stronger, nor do injured training partners. In any martial art, we need to stay healthy and strong in order to continue training and in order to improve. Likewise, we need strong, healthy training partners who will push us, but who will also take care of us and us them, so that we can continue training together long into the future.
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, as well as a founding member of the Severna Park and Baltimore Holistic Chamber of Commerce.
Street art photo taken by Robert Van Valkenburgh, artist unknown unless otherwise noted.
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