Endurance picEndurance is one of the most difficult disciplines, but it is to the one who endures that the final victory comes.” - Buddha

In January, 2015, I used this picture and quote as my monthly theme for class. The reason I did was when I consider monthly themes I take suggestions from my assistant instructor and I think about how the students have been doing in the recent month. I try to think what might motivate or excite them, to push them.

I thought Endurance would be good for the start of the year. Yeah, so many times the theme of Goals is used and I'll bring it out now and again. But I wanted the students to toughen up a bit, get through some of the difficult parts of the workout and form work we do.

Endurance is akin to perseverance. You're trying to keep going to reach the goal. I think endurance, however, can be broken down into the areas of mental and physical.

One of my exercises I do every so often is go through my form, full power, seven times. After the first couple I'm doing all right. By the fourth or fifth round, I'm feeling it – in my muscles, my breathing, and especially in my mind. It becomes a mental exercise to keep going, to finish those seven. I'm sweating and I'm pushing those kicks, trying to stay relaxed (not tense throughout), and focusing on technique rather than the strain and pain I'm feeling. The mental game to endure the strain and pain and keep going. Push, kick, strike. Again. Again. One more time. The mind counts up from one then counts down how many more rounds I have. Push, kick, strike. Again. One more time.

Of course, to endure, the physical side comes into play. By years of training I've built up strength and stamina to keep going. To endure.

Region 114's annual camp is an excellent venue for endurance. The classes and exercises are intense and demanding. The Masters instructing will push you to your limits. They're not harsh or come down with punishment for failure, but they will push. They'll encourage improvement, celebrate success.

But only after you've endured what they have to offer.

None of us is Superman, but as I mentioned, training does help endurance.

I think of those who go through the SEAL training. Normally, it isn't the biggest guy in the bunch who succeeds. Those who succeed will be the ones with that physical and mental endurance to push past the pain and the mental anguish. Late in 2014, I heard commercials about enduring the training of one of the military branches. The man speaking was pushing himself mentally, saying to himself that he needed to keep going for just a bit longer, just a minute more. Then he'd succeed.

Endurance is strength of body and of mind. It doesn't always have to be something physical like a martial arts form or military training. Sometimes, it can be about a job interview or writing the final chapter in a book.

Where in your life have you had to endure to succeed?

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