"what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger"

a common saying we can find in motivational talks, notebooks of students in their exam period, on the mirror of a girl on diet, on a sick patient's desk or in a politician's diary. it's an expression, basically meaning 'some obstacles will challenge your progress, but if you succeed, you will emerge a better person'.

i was enlightened to write this note to explain some common misconceptions towards martial arts and their practitioners. i've encountered some people asking, belittling and some went to the extent of discouraging the practice of martial arts. so, i hope these pieces of my mind would answer their enquiry and make things clear for them why some people are keen in learning these self-defense arts.

first of all, the questions went somewhat like this:
  • why do you learn it in the first place?
  • it is painful, right, doing all those acrobats?
  • what else do you get other than bruises and broken bones?
  • if i knew my brother/son/cousin is involved in such self-torturing acts, i would have stopped him...
i would like to draw the attention first to the psychology of the human mind. the human mind has the components called 'drive', 'instinct', 'need' and 'desire'. to explain all of this would require quite a long page. let's just keep this short. these components are essential to the human being's existence as they keep the human race in a constant struggle to survive and maintain their species. also, using these components, the human mind is able to set a 'goal' to achieve and bear the hardships of reaching that particular 'goal'.

now, let us take the similitude of a girl on a diet program. she has the 'desire' to look good or maybe she has the 'need' to attract a boy. this is a normal 'instinct' for a human being [as to maintain the human species, i might say]. and to look good, she is 'driven' to exclude some of her favourite food from her menu. this is the point of a diet program. to not to eat according to your heart's wishes and thus obtaining the ideal weight and measurements. to say the least, enduring appetite restraints and to some point, hunger, is a part and parcel of a diet program. a question like 'why does she stop eating such and such?' would be considered stupid because we all know what is required in a diet program.

same goes to learning martial arts. i don't think i need to re-explain the components of the mind again, rather i would explain why the obstacles are endured.

the self-torture acts [as some might see it] are the parts and parcels of learning martial arts/self-defense. you can't expect to learn these arts without experiencing some bit of pain. now it comes to 'what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger'. a sprained ankle, dislocated shoulder, cut knee, back pain [which i am experiencing now] is just part of the learning process. better to get hurt in the gelanggang/gym/dojo/ring and learn something than get hurt on the streets and be sorry.*

i remembered a point given to me from my silat trainers. the saying goes like this:
"biar rasa sakit masa belajar, supaya kita tahu bagaimana rasanya dan tak buat sesuka hati pada orang...**"
meaning "bear some pain during training so that we can know the feeling and not apply it ignorantly on undeserving people..."

now that is a lesson of humility inculcated in silat. i think all other martial artists will agree.

i think my answers are enough to satisfy the questions above.

p.s: *quote taken from ushop during coming home from RB practice. **quote from SCH training in UIAPJ, can't remember whether it's bro atuk or bro hafiz...missed those guys

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