“Where have you been, Jim?” Jim enters the dojo after four months.
“ I haven’t had time to meet you, Sensei. And after my accident, it was tough for me to recover.” Jim took off his coat and hung it.
Jim had been learning kickboxing for five years now, but once, while returning from a party he fell from his bike and broke his leg. Since then he has been unable to walk and was bedridden for three months at the time.
After his plaster was removed he was still limping. He couldn’t bear the fact that he was not able to fight again and slowly slipped into depression.
“So, what brings you back to my dojo?” Sensei looked at his legs as he was still limping.
“It had been in a tough time, Sensei, after my accident. After my recovery, I had been trying my best to get back to the dojo and start again, but because of my limping I had the fear of pain and I avoided coming here for four months.”
Sensei took him to the side and they seated themselves on a wooden bench. Sensei took some water and offered it to Jim. Jim took it and downed it in one gulp.
“So… after so much time, when you came here, I was happy. But now you talked about your fear. Do you realize you are also suffering from the same problem that every fighter experience once he is injured?”
Jim glanced at the medals and trophies he had won until now. Tears rolled down from his eyes as the sight of his fights and his victories against his opponents rolled in front of his eyes.
“Jim, I know you were one of my best fighters and I was sad when I heard the news about your accident.”
“But, Sensei, what should I do? The pain is hurting me and I am unable to walk and the fear of failure is haunting me and I don’t know what to do about it. I…” Jim looked away trying to rub his eyes and stop the tears.
He looked around to try and hide his pain. He was not able to understand what brought him here today. It was not like he was going to walk properly again… ever. The thought brought more tears.
Rubbing his eyes, his eyes stopped on a kid who was trying to kick. But he could see he wasn’t bending his knees properly… neither he was balancing his weight the right way. The kid brought a little smile on his lips. He recalled how Sensei had pointed out to him his mistake when he was learning to kick. He would just shift so early on his heels that he lost his balance most of the time and fell on his face… or his back.
Sensei pointed out to the kid to him. “ Do you remember how you started your journey? For the first week, every time you used to try doing the basic sidekick you would just tumble down… mostly face first. You remember how many time you scraped your nose and then call me the next day making excuses?”
Jim chuckled, “Sensei, the pain at night was unbearable and I was unable to even walk the next day. I wasn’t making excuses. I used to limp and come to the dojo and still, you used to make me do floor exercises in that pain.”
“Jim, do you know how you used to warm up? You used to scream and you used to even cry whenever I would push you to do a split.”
“Sensei, that was how I used to let out my pain. You never listened to me and gave me a break.”
“Jim, that was how you started growing. That is when your inner strength manifested. Don’t be afraid of the failure, Jim. I tried that you didn’t give up to the pain. But now… now you are not a kid anymore. Now… it’s your job.”
Jim looked at the man he had looked up to more than half of his life now. His tears were still flowing, but his brain was working to what Sensei was trying to say.
“Your fear of pain is nothing but a manifestation of fear of losing. Earlier you were afraid of losing to someone else… Today, you are afraid of losing to yourself, Jim.”
“But, Sensei, even though I tried exercising on my own I am not able to get over my pain Every time I start to jog or run, I just fall out of pain. What should I do ?”
“If you want to win over your fear… if you want to start to walk the way you want to… take control of yourself. Or… surrender it to me, like you had when you were a kid. Believe in someone. If you are not able to believe in yourself… then believe in your ability and mine.”
Sensei got up from the bench and walked towards the equipment stand. He took a pair of sandbags and handed it to Jim. “Do you remember these? When you were asked to increase your speed, I made you wear these sandbags and walk the whole day with them on. You’d limp the next day too. But when we’d remove the bags, you would run better. You know why?”
“Being a warrior or a fighter is never an easy task. Your mind is used to success, but when it experienced failure, it became reckless. Jim, what you want will come to you, if you’ll follow the path… but let the destination go. If you will look only at the destination, even a small pebble will make you fall. If you’ll keep your eyes on the way, you will walk better.”
Fresh tears rolled down Jim’s eyes as he picked the sandbags from Sensei’s feet.
“Jim, currently your pain is that sandbag. It is attached to your mind. It is hindering you from moving forward. But, if you think of this pain as a piece of training equipment you would be able to utilize it to fight against your weakness. Every human has to undergo pain. A baby suffers pain when he falls down while trying and standing on his feet. A woman undergoes pain when she delivers a baby… an athlete suffers pain when he runs in the race. But instead on repenting or avoiding the pain if you brace the pain, you might see a miracle. Every time a baby falls it gets up and tries again… every time an athlete is bagging second place, he just practices harder to surpass his records. Even the mother delivers the baby knowing she will be in pain. So, Jim instead of limping throughout your life start feeling strong. Make your pain an ally and start walking, push yourself and start working out. Never be afraid of failure. Until and unless you’ll try, you can’t know the result. So, instead of stopping yourself from joining back, just start coming to the dojo and I’ll train you from the basics. The faster you’ll learn, the better you will feel.”
Jim gets up and bows to Sensei. “When I was a kid, I surrendered my control to you… and you brought me up into a warrior. I am so grateful to you. Today, I feel like that kid again. I want to become the person I was before and under your guidance, I would be one.”
Jim thanked Sensei again and limped out of the dojo. He felt the new energy flowing in his veins. He threw his crutch and started climbing down the stairs as he knew a new day will bring more to him then he had till now.
Edited by: Lipi Gupta
Copyright: Akhilesh Math, 16/02/2018, 21:28 IST