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The Courage To Suffer

Updated: Jan 21, 2023

Story Time.

I remember I was a White or Blue Belt.. At the time I competed a lot. I trained with competitions in mind. My coach at the time would have us suffering on runs and Sunday Comp Training. I remember doing well at comps and during a specific competition, I just KNEW that I would win and would end up getting to the finals and facing a teammate of mine.

"But there was no need to be ashamed of tears, for tears bore witness that a man had the greatest of courage, the courage to suffer."

-Viktor E Frankl

I was excited. In my head, no one could tell me that I wasn't going to be in the finals. I prepared, I sacrificed, all while holding down a full time job. Nothing could stop me.

I lost in the first round.

I remember getting off the mat at this local competition that offered a t-shirt and a cheap medal; feeling like I had failed in the finals at Worlds. My heart and my mind didn't know the difference. They knew loss and sacrifice. They knew failure.

I sat down and I cried. I felt like I embarrassed myself, the gym, and my instructor. This wasn't the first time I had lost in competition, nor would it be my last. I knew I should have done better. I didn't feel like my opponent was better or that I was ill prepared.

Yet, there I was crying with my coach's arm around me. As someone who isn't overly emotional, I was embarrassed that I was sitting there crying. Looking back at it, it was a moment that taught me so much.

It was pivotal.

The practitioners with full time jobs are given the "hobbyist" title, as if we are less than. We're not. This is a lifestyle we're living and we pour our heart and soul into this, just like the Pro does. Whether the venue is small or big, in competition or the Academy, we're all displaying the courage to suffer and put ourselves on the line.

The emotions are real.

The injuries are real.

The highs and lows are real.

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