Remember the Id and the Ego from my post, “Inner Dialogue?” Let’s bring them out again. (Images by yurike – firstname.lastname@example.org)
“Why am I doing this?” I ask myself as I drive to class, “I could be home napping or reading a book. Ya know, I’m feeling a bit off today – maybe I should turn around and go home. Recovery days are important, right? Especially at my age…”
In the case of that last thought, I had to give myself a severe scolding. I was a guest at a sister dojo during the time they have a room reserved for practice. The sensei didn’t have to teach me squat – he had things to work on himself. So did the sempai. The sensei was honoring me by having the sempai work with me on some very specific things that will boost my sparring skills. You bet I found the energy to keep going and I thoroughly enjoyed the time.
There must be something deep within us that says that if the saber toothed tiger isn’t chasing us and we’re well fed, we really ought to hide and rest. As enthusiastic as I am about Karate, I do have to fight sometimes to keep going. I have to remind myself that I can do it. I know I can keep going because I’ve done it so many times before.
The darkest motivation I can think of to persevere is simply that it’s entirely possible I’ll be attacked in the parking lot after class. My life might one day depend on me overcoming fatigue, maybe even injury. This thought first came to me on the drive home from my first Gasshuku. I stopped at a rest stop and, as is my habit whenever I get out of a car, I surveyed the other people – noting where they were, where they were going, how they were dressed, and their emotional states. No creeps. I was barely able to drive safely home because I was very sore and tired, but I realized if it came to a fight for my life, no doubt I would find the energy.
In contrast, the best motivation for me to overcome fatigue is simply this: Karate is fun, awesome, challenging, empowering, and a whole slew of other positive adjectives. Yes, I know – proper hydration and nutrition count for a lot when it comes to preventing and overcoming fatigue. I submit that one’s mental outlook is just as important if not more important. The instant I lose sight of how lucky I am to be engaged in a physical activity that I enjoy, I start listening to that little voice that tells me I’m too tired.