Perseverance in Training
By Clarence Fischer
From the Spring 2003 Newsletter
One of the
most important aspects of your training is
research in the U.S. since the 1980's into fall prevention
and balance control in the elderly. It is estimated that
one-third to one-half of the population aged 65 years and
older fall each year, and these falls can result in serious
injury and even death. By 2030, the number of older
Americans is expected to double from 35 million to 70
One of the most important aspects of your training is
something that is not exactly as tangible as a certain
exercise or technique. Instead, it is more of an attitude or
way of thinking that you should embrace in order to further
yourself in the arts. The quality that I speak of is the
namesake of this article: perseverance.
The first thing necessary to understand is the actual
meaning of the word. Webster's Dictionary defines
perseverance as "...persist[ing] in any purpose or idea; to
strive in spite of difficulties or obstacles." This can be
applied to all aspects of your training whether physical,
mental, or spiritual. It can also become one of the best
qualities of a martial artist.
Perserverance can be applied to all aspects
of your training whether physical,
mental, or spiritual.
The physical aspect of perseverance is the simplest to
apply. This deals with your actual practice, be it forms,
techniques, sparring, etc. The repeating of forms and
techniques over and over again is the foundation for not
only discipline (and I'm sure some would argue torture) but
muscle memory. How many times have you been in class and
done the same thing over and over? Plenty. This is physical
perseverance and it leads to perfection in whatever you are
attempting to master.
When you hear Grand Master say, "We're going to burn this
in," he is referring to this repeated movement in order to
develop not only mental memory, but muscle memory as well.
The next aspect to investigate is mental perseverance.
Within this discipline you will find much the same attitude
as in the physical aspect, however it will be applied to
your mental studies, the simplest of which is your ability
to pay attention to your training, in class or otherwise.
When you are on the floor you should not heed any extraneous
thoughts. Now, since we are all human and subject to the
monkey mind, this becomes a great challenge, especially in
the earlier years of training. Constant attendance and
consistent quality practice time will help alleviate the
Also included in the mental aspect of perseverance is
meditation training. Since this is a highly personal venture
and there are such a great number of methods used I will
only say that you should never discontinue this training, no
matter how slow your progress or even if you believe you are
not currently progressing. Remember, this is one of the
hardest, and highest levels, of martial training there is.
You should do everything to the best of
your abilities, even down to your own breathing.
Spirituality (which has dual meaning in this context) is the
next aspect to examine. For some, this involves the beliefs
of several different religions and/or deities. For others,
it involves a personal philosophy, which is usually a
mixture of several different religions or schools of
thought. Since everyone follows their own path when it comes
to spirituality, and since no one can discredit anyone
else's philosophydue to the simple fact that they're
deceased if they canI will only say that perseverance
in this particular category involves much study and
Don't be satisfied by what you're brought up with.
Investigate for yourself and be open to other disciplines.
Do what works for you, but ultimately, you must do something
or you are missing out on one-third of your proper training.
The other aspect of the spirit is your attitude toward
training itself. Do you do it with full vigor? Are you
active in your kwoon? Do you make all your classes? Do you
practice proper wu-de? The questions could go on and on.
The point is that you should do everything to the best of
your abilities, even down to your own breathing. This is the
way to perfection. Of course no man or woman can answer
"yes" to all of the questions that could be posed. Again, we
are all human, however you must always strive for your
personal best, and then surpass it.
The purpose of this article is not to tell you what to do or
how to do it, but, rather, to incite you into introspection
so that you may further your training as only you can do.
Also, keep in mind that I have only scratched the surface in
terms of areas and ways to persevere.
Right away I can think of areas left untouched in this
article such as home-practice or home-study such as reading
and research. Only you know where you are truly lacking;
only you know what your personal beliefs are; and only you
know where you will need to apply the most vigor.
There is one other person that has a good idea though, and
that is your teacher. Don't be afraid to ask for help or
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