Recently I have taken an interest in Stoicism. Stoicism is the endurance of pain or hardship without a display of feelings and without complaint. In reading Letters From a Stoic, By Seneca, I came accross this quote.
“It is precisely in times of immunity from care that the soul should toughen itself beforehand for occasions of greater stress, and it is while fortune is kind that it should fortify itself against her violence.” – Seneca the Younger
This was particulary profound to me. It made me reflect back to the reasons I started training in Krav Maga and what it evolved to. At first it started out for the obvious reasons such as self-defense, fitness, wanting to be a badass, etc. I had trained in other martial arts previously but Krav Maga was different. Krav Maga was hard. VERY hard. I was pushed to my limits (or what I thought were my limits) right from beginning.
I always enjoyed training. What's not to like about learning how to disarm a handgun from an assailant and learning to take on multiple attackers? Jason Bourne type stuff. But it became something more. It was how I toughened myself up. I realized just how soft I was after getting my bell rung by another student in class. Krav Maga became about something else entirely.
The chances of me ending up in a life changing, violent encounter are.....well....what does it matter? Maybe it will happen, maybe it won't. But consider the quote mentioned above. When is the best time to prepare for a violent attack? When is the best time to condition your body and your mind to survive? It's said we don't rise to the occasion, we fall to the level of our training.
So for that reason, now is the time to start training. Before something happens. Practice discomfort. Embrace the pain. Be proactive and be ready. You could train for a 100 years and never have to use what you learned, but it would still be time well spent.
- Clayton Mortensen