There will always be certain things about ourselves that we would gladly change if we could, but, for whatever reason, we are unable to do so.
They follow us everywhere we go, gnawing at our heals and weighing us down.
The harder we try to get away from these attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors, the stronger and more pronounced they seem to become.
As we try to chase them away, they begin to chase us right back, keeping us running in circles, strengthened by the attention.
We cannot escape them.
We cannot deny them.
We are stuck with them.
They are part of who we are.
This does not mean that we should accept them and accentuate them.
They bother us for a reason.
They are causing us difficulty.
We need to dig into them, explore them, and understand their reason for being.
In order to mitigate their negative effects on us and those around us, we need to trace them back to their points of origin.
We must try to understand who we were before we believed, behaved, and felt this way, what happened, and why we changed.
Understanding alone is not sufficient for deep, meaningful change to take place, however.
Knowledge of self is not enough to transform us into someone better.
We need to put in work.
It will not be easy.
It will not happen quickly.
These are the things that once saved us, protected us, and helped us to survive, but, over time, they have turned against us.
Without them, we are vulnerable.
We need love, compassion, and grace to replace them.
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 Kogen Dojo Self Defense Academy where he teaches Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
All photos by Robert Van Valkenburgh unless otherwise noted.
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