People always say to take care of your body because it is a temple and you only get one. My body is trying to self-destruct, so I really don’t like it. Unlike many, it’s not the outside I don’t like, it’s the inside. My nerves, my organs, my veins and arteries. While they keep me alive, they almost my nemesis, but more on that later.
For now, I want to talk about martial arts. Martial arts is the ultimately expression of your body. It is especially unique because everyone’s body is different. Anyone with motivation can do it, whether it be a seasoned marathoner or a professional couch potato. If you are motivated and willing to put the work in, you can achieve your personal goals.
Not everyone is going to physically be able to do a full split. Some people don’t jump as high or run as fast. Hand-eye coordination is not everyone’s strong suit and balance is often something many people aren’t good at at first. That’s okay, because martial arts accommodates all.
I’m kind of the happy medium. I’m definitely not a marathoner, but riding the couch is the most boring thing ever. I control my excess energy by channeling it through skiing and martial arts. It works out well for me, because I have a sport for every season. I’m never without an outlet for my stresses and energy. Sitting in the classroom for hours everyday builds up energy in a person like me, so the opportunity to release that energy is very much welcomed.
I also have an extra challenge. My body fights itself. I go through my life everyday looking perfectly normal on the outside, while my insides are just burning, stabbing, aching, etc. When I do martial arts, I forget about it all. Yes, it still hurts. Many times, it is much worse than I let on. There is so much internalized, physical turmoil that no one can see that surges through my body and threatens to knock me to my knees. No doubt that the pain has knocked me to my knees in training, skillfully disguised as “just getting tripped up”.
I am always striving to be a better martial artist, so it really frustrates me when I have to lay in a hospital bed for 10 days with my legs essentially paralyzed. Because I am unable to consume a substantial amount of food during that time, my body starts to weaken. It is further weakened by pain and dehydration. Lying in bed for an extended amount of time less to extensive muscle wasting all over my body. Therefore, I have to put my body back together again every 2 1/2-3 months. It is frustrating to have your body be worn down and waste away just to be able to recover and build it back up again. Try relearning how to walk at least 4 times a year and keeping up with martial arts. It isn’t easy.
I have a personal goal of being a combat weapons state champion in my gender, rank, and age division. Sometimes I wonder if I would be a better martial artist if I wasn’t constantly fighting my body. I probably would be a physically better martial artist, but I wouldn’t be nearly as mentally tough. At the same time, would I have come back to taekwondo and would I be the same person today without my medical conditions? I sincerely doubt it.
While fighting my body is tiring and often threatens to crush me, I wouldn’t be who I am without it. Because of my chronic illnesses and martial arts, I am a much stronger, mentally tough young woman today.