The notion of helping somebody else or defending others who can’t defend themselves is one that I have always been able to readily align myself with. However, I was once challenged that the the fight for one’s own heart is the real fight of their life. The older I get, the more weight that sentiment seems to carry. Perhaps I’m beginning to realize that the better I become as a person, the better I can be for my friends, loved ones and even the strangers around me. The greater the capacity of one’s heart to be loving, joyful, and compassionate, the more those things can manifest around that person and in the individuals they come in contact with.

This sounds all warm and generally idyllic, but it’s such a struggle and a fight at times. Even in the controlled and relatively safe environment of a gym or dojo, fights are tiresome messy things. They aren’t beautifully choreographed displays of ability like what you’d see on the silver screen. They’re scrappy. You get hit. You get thrown. You’ll try something and it won’t work. You will get blocked or jammed, and slammed, but you can’t just quit in the middle of it. I used to spar a little when I was younger, and this was a huge revelation for me. When you find yourself in front of your opponent and everything begins, you need to be in the present. You have to keep going with whatever happens. As messy and ridiculous as you may look, you have to keep going. There is a life lesson here, one that I’m still learning. But as tired and messy as I’m sure I must look, and as much as I want to quit, I know I need to keep moving. There’s a lot to be said about that… about progress over perfection… about making yourself get back up… So, embrace it. Breathe in. Breathe out. Keep moving.