When I started taking martial arts classes I was pretty timid. Internally anyway. No matter what I did or said to the world, inside I was a scared kid. Even in to my thirties. I had a life time of bruising on the inside that no one could see with their eyes. Some suspected because they didn’t use their eyes to see me. But for the most part the bruises were invisible. As I got more “in to” martial arts and the work outs I discovered something.
I bruise on the outside.
And I liked it.
Any martial arts training should leave you knowing how to defend yourself. And how to get hit. You will know what physical pain is and that you can survive it.
I learned well.
I loved the bruising. I would get quite upset if I worked out in sparring or spent entire classes practicing hands on techniques with a partner and not get bruised. There was something very healing to me to take a hit. Or work on breaking techniques for so long and be grabbed a hundred times in an hour and be sore. And bruised.
It got to the point that if I took a punch or kick and did not get bruised I would get upset. Punched in the eye? I should have a black eye to show for that! Because I took it. And it didn’t do me in.
In looking back there’s something I find very interesting. During this process of teaching my body to move and to adapt, to accept hurt and push through and past the hurt, my insides felt less bruised. Maybe it was coincidence. Maybe it wasn’t. I’d like to think it wasn’t. I’d like to think that whatever process was going on….it was making a difference. That my actions were creating the change. Even if those actions were having unintended but phenomenal results. I would come home some nights and barely be able to walk. Sometimes it felt worse the next day or 36 hours out. It hurt. And that hurt felt good. It was proof that I was doing something. I was being active. I was flexing my muscle, so to speak. There was some kind of internal healing I was getting from the external exertion. I would look at the bruises and be, ridiculous as it sounds, proud.
When I would spar and someone would land a good punch or kick I would get mad not defeated. And I fought back. I wasn’t graceful. I wasn’t the best. But I was better with each passing year, than I was the year before.
The physical training, stress and battering seemed to be a salve for the internal bruising. The more I discovered I could “take” to the outside the more I seemed to “let go” from the inside.
For all that was transpiring I was finding a balance between the inside and outside. The spirit and the vessel.
I value that time, that process, that bruising.
The bruised me-freed me.