More Betterer Part III – Mental

Click Here to read Part I

Mental - as in crazy, as in mad cow disease... Oh, never mind.
Mental – as in crazy, as in mad cow disease… Oh, never mind.

Yes, I know – the title of this post loans itself well to the British synonym for “crazy.”  And maybe I am a bit crazy.  Other ladies my age are comfortably doing safe things like Zumba and swimming.  Ah well, “normal” is merely a setting on the dryer…

Initially I had some trouble thinking of how different I will be mentally at Shodan vs. where I am now.  Of course I came up with really off-the-wall wacky stuff to joke about – things like floating in the air while doing meditation and bending spoons without touching them.  But it took me awhile to come up with the idea that I’ll have had loads of practice dealing with the “inner demons” I’ve already encountered.  So when I encounter them again (and again and again) I’ll have loads of experience to draw on.

I’m just going to name some of these “inner demons.”  I’m sure they’re familiar to all of us and none of us like to dwell on them…

1) Imposter syndrome
2) Self doubt
3) Negativity
4) Giving respect even when it’s hard to give it
5) Fear
6) Discouragement
7) Exhaustion (mental and physical)
8) Injury
9) Juggling family, work, and Karate
10) Impatience
11) Anger
12) Remembering the battle is not with the other guy (or gal) but within me

I know, this is not an exhaustive list and it’s all kinda nebulous – some of these merge into others.  We face down a lot of our inner demons on the mats.  Sometimes the battle is silent and sometimes it’s there for everyone to see and hear.  I don’t think dealing with these things will get any easier, it’s just that over time, and certainly by the time I reach Shodan in roughly 7-10 years, I’ll have had more practice.

My online acquaintance, Mr. James Bullard confirmed my idea and added his experience,

“The bad news is, you’ll probably be facing those demons for most, if not all, of your time in the martial arts.  The good news is, they get smaller (or maybe you get “bigger?”) the further you go.”

I like the idea of me getting bigger.  Not long ago in a post-class lecture, my Sensei briefly touched on a very good reason for being in Karate in the first place: namely, to change one’s self (I’m paraphrasing).  I liken mental development to strengthening the core muscles – our spirits have  “cores” too.  I hope my core will be nice and strong by the time I reach Shodan.

MORE BETTERER PART IV – oh, and feel free to burst any bubbles that might need bursting 🙂

Author: Joelle White

I began training in Karate in June of 2014 after a 27 year hiatus.

8 thoughts on “More Betterer Part III – Mental”

  1. Your article talks about one of the most important benefits of martial arts. At some point, everyone seems to face their inner demons on the martial journey. Not everyone likes what they see and continue on. There’s a mental strength in continuing to face these difficulties again and again, and that mental discipline is a huge positive benefit of the martial arts. The funny thing is that mental discipline is a like a muscle, the more you use it, the stronger you get. You’re spot on, there.

    I’ve noticed that the inner demons also change as the journey changes. Not all of the things I face now are the same as the ones back when I started. Although, some are. Darn that pesky ego! Luckily, the ability to deal with your issues changes with you.

    1. Hello, Eric! I very much appreciate the encouragement and insight. Over time I’ll have to note down the things that change for me and how I overcome them as I go along – thanks for making me think about that! Thanks for stopping by and reading!

  2. Thanks for sharing the link to your older post within this article Joelle – “The Core of Your Self”. I hadn’t seen that one before, but it’s superb – thank you 🙂

    1. Awww, thanks (blush). Frequent visits to nursing homes really made me think about who I want go “grow up” to be. I hope my little article helps others to do the same.

    2. Awww, thanks (blush). Frequent visits to nursing homes really made me think about who I want go “grow up” to be. I hope my little article helps others to do the same.

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