Hurt or injured?
Ok so it turns out my elbow is pretty fucked up from the attempted shoulder lock this past Friday at Fight to Win BJJ. This is not all bad, in some ways it’s good. As a Martial Artist, you learn to develop a mindset of toughness that will teach you the difference between something hurting or actual injury. Being able to endure pain on emotional and physical levels is part of being a human, “bubble boy” who is kept from negative experiences receives little opportunity to grow and thus doesn’t last very long out in the real world. If you’ve been on this earth long enough you know that life is full of hardship in some way (even for those who appear blessed) so it is important we constantly look to develop our inner strength to survive the challenges ahead, or right now for some of us.
Now let’s talk about injuries.. We will define an injury as something which demands medical attention. Being hurt on the other hand is simply pain and while it sucks, you must embrace the opportunity to build your tolerance as you would a muscle in the gym. This mindset is critical for life and especially for a Martial Artist. An injury can be viewed as a negative but it can also motivate you to change many things about yourself by taking a step back from the physical part of training or competition. Aim to be as involved as possible in your passion from the sidelines (coaching, teaching, watching practices, watching tape, writing ideas, really anything that will not delay your return). Instead of chalking it up to a complete loss and allowing it to discourage you, take advantage of the huge opportunity to focus on mental or physical aspects from nutrition to mindset or improving your upper body strength while dealing with a lower body injury. Regardless of your situation it is imperative you incorporate the principle of “kaizen” (incremental improvement) and direct your efforts towards improving in areas you normally wouldn’t.
Now for being hurt, this is another great opportunity for you to train with a limitation. I have to tell athletes all the time, unless you are in the hospital there is no excuse to not show up to practice and get better. If you consider yourself a professional it is your job to show up, not just for yourself but for your team. A champion maintains their schedule, acknowledging that there is no excuse not to show up. Appreciate the fact that you are able to participate in what you love while building technically and mentally. It is also a great way to improve your weaker skills. For example if you play basketball and have pain in your dominant right hand, use the opportunity to develop the left side rather than missing practice and waiting to fully heal. If your goal is to be the best, and it should be even if you just do it for fun, your chief aim is to improve and challenge yourself daily. Playing or practicing hurt is no different, it will also prepare you for situations where you have to compete hurt. Above all you will develop a mindset of being comfortable being uncomfortable. You will find this trait necessary in not just athletics but in business and life. And the best part about it, there is always another level for you to reach in the same way that receiving your black belt is not the end but the beginning.