For those who aren’t familiar with my story, let me share. When I was a baby I fell out of bed. I was ill and the infection settled in my ankle and elbow. The ER nurse told my parents that I was crying just to get attention. (Dad, to this day still rankles at the memory.) The doc took one look at me and said “Surgery, stat.” He predicted I wouldn’t walk properly. He was wrong.
Everything was normal until I started playing Little League. Then my right elbow started acting up. When I was a sophomore in high school I injured the elbow again and had to have surgery to remove a dime-sized chip of bone. Since then I have been unable to fully straighten the arm.
When I began taekwondo in 1991, the arm started bothering me again. Something would ‘catch’ on on a bone spur or something (I don’t know what the something was) and I’d have pain when extending. At one point, I spent three hours trying to ‘un-catch’ it.
However, as I settled into regular training, I strengthened the elbow and managed to keep it from atrophying. In the summer of 2013, my physical fitness regimen was interrupted because of a move in both job and location. I didn’t return to actively using the arm until late October when it bothered me again. By January I was better.
Why? Discipline. As most know, I’ve been involved with WarriorXFit.com building strength and stamina. It’s a good regimen for the cold winter days when I’m stuck inside. Because of my schedule I will need to make time to work on my taekwondo form, sparring, etc, but I’m exercising when I can. On warmer days, I’ll go for a run to supplement the WXF.
Discipline doesn’t have to have a negative connotation. I was disciplined A LOT as a child. (Something my dad continues to bring up every now and then.) But that, too, was not negative. (Okay, it was to me, but it was the consequence of my misbehavior.)
Much of discipline is mental. My instructor once gave a challenge to perform my form seven times in a row, full power. Now, my Fifth Degree form consists of 95 moves. These include jump kicks, spin kicks, reverse kicks, and several hand techniques. 95 moves. Seven times in a row. Which means that when I’m done with the first, I step back to the ready stance, take a breath and begin again, then again. 95 moves. Seven times. You do the math.
Of course, I didn’t just decide one day to go for seven. I built up to it. Little by little, week after week. Three times. Four. Five.
The first few times are easy. I have the stamina. Long about the fourth or fifth round it becomes a mental challenge. Discipline. I think of this challenge as not seven to do, but rather I’ve finished one round. Then two. Then later it’s only two more to go, then one.
One afternoon, after warming up and practicing techniques, I told myself I was going to do the seven or stop whenever my co-instructor arrived at the club. After four times, I glanced at the clock and wondered where he was. After the fifth time I wondered again. After the sixth, I told myself, “Well, I might as well and complete seven.”
I’ve done the seven challenge several times. After a time, it does become easier. I love the sweat. I love the feeling of accomplishment. After a round of WarriorXFit, I love the sore muscles. (I have a great massage therapist who does wonders for those muscles.)
Taekwondo is exercising both physically and mentally. When I work out, I discipline the muscles to do what they don’t want to, but should do. I break them down so they can rebuild and be stronger. I also discipline my mind to work through the protesting muscles, to push a lit bit more, to not give in or up. Even when it means I have to do pushups.
In what areas are you disciplined to accomplish your goals?