Choosing Change (Facing Trauma)

Our scars remind us how we got here, but they should not dictate where we go next.

Whether internally, externally, or some combination of both, trauma alters us. It changes our shape. It changes the way we move, the way we perceive ourselves and the world, and it changes the way we relate to others.

This change may happen without us even knowing it, without us being aware of it, altering our selves and our lives in ways that we do not truly comprehend. This can go on for years or even decades, shaping our character, driving our decisions, and influencing our relationships.

There may be moments wherein we gain some glimpse into what is really going on with us, what led us to think, behave, and interact with others in the way we do, but knowing this is only the beginning. As important as self-knowledge is, what we do with that knowledge is what matters most.

Once we acknowledge our trauma, once we can point at it, name it, and begin to understand its affect on who we have become, we become responsible for it, not for the trauma itself, but for the way that we wear its scars and the ways in which their influence manifests in us and through us.

By recognizing them for what they are, we give our scars the opportunity to heal. We must choose this, however, and it will not be easy nor will it be fast. It took us a long time to get here, but we have to start somewhere.


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.

All photos by Robert Van Valkenburgh unless otherwise noted.

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