No Surrender

Some of you know that I’ve taken up boxing this year. I recently commented privately about my workout routine. In that comment, I included a poem that distills part of my mental process while training.

It deals with the issue of quitting. I’ve been pushing the workouts pretty dang hard and in new directions. It doesn’t happen often but sometime the routine pushes me right to the line of collapse or barfing. It’s at those times one must be especially mindful of creeping thoughts. It’s easy to rationalize a break or early finish to the workout.

I’ve included the poem here with a concluding quotation from O-Sensei.

Every time I think of quitting,
I think of that comedy jackass
jibber-jabbering his f***ing mouth off.

I pick up my stride,
cut a half minute off my pace
or go to the weight rack
to add some mo’ plates.

There is no quit
’cause there is no tomorrow.
There is nothing but right now,
nothing but pain and sweat and beauty.

The jackass’ contemptuous bray
fades from my mind,
washed away by salted sweat.

Training is prayer.

The following are words from O-Sensei (The Art of Peace)

The penetrating brilliance of swords
wielded by followers of the Way
strikes at the evil enemy
lurking deep within
their own souls and bodies.