If we practice for a long time, and as we develop fitness and physical skills, so too do we develop the capacity to work hard and to push our own boundaries. And in a discipline where we strive for excellence and progress, you are at your peak position for maximum development when you are teetering on the edge of over-training.
Over-training is a controversial subject, and can manifest in different ways.
Some people think it does not exist, and others feel as if they brush up against it all the time. But here is the theory, that I have found to be sound: if you want to progress as fast as possible, you’re training techniques or methods that are as challenging as you can endure, without hurting yourself.
From time to time, you’re liable to fall over that line. If you don’t push your boundaries, you never discover where they are. But after you have found them out, if you push them too frequently, one day you will wake up battered, injured, fatigued – it doesn’t matter what system you train. This is the reality of intense exercise practices, extrapolated over the course of years. There are no athletes who have not had to negotiate injury. If you have not had a broken bone, or dislocated joint, or ruptured ligament, count yourself lucky.
Just because it’s a good system, doesn’t mean it won’t hurt you.
Ambition is dangerous, it hurts us. And the harder you train, the more dedicated the student, the greater the risk of injury because we are the ones who are more likely to push ourselves to the limit.
As you progress, awareness and quality of technique become even more important.
When you’re attending a class, and someone asks you to practice an exercise that you have learned, for you, is problematic or dangerous – the ability to protect your own boundaries and say no is a valuable skill.
It is easy to self-blame.
We know something does not suit us, but we go along. Then we recriminate ourselves. Your responsibility does not extend to include the culture of the class, the forcefulness of the coach, and your unwillingness to make a scene does not actually reflect on you.
Your teacher sometimes does not know.
There are so many circumstances, but once you accept that injury is inevitable, it removes the concept of right and wrong. You start to think in terms of appropriateness and risk. If you believe that you will not injure yourself, you will be protected by your technique, your teacher, your awareness, in time you will become reckless. But if you know that injury is possible, this will sharpen your awareness more than denial ever will, and you will know that some exercises you are not ready for, and you will accept appropriate progressions more happily.
And when you accept that injury is an inevitable consequence of pursuing your own development, and that it is also an inevitable consequence of inaction and passivity, you can see that it doesn’t reflect on you.
Failure is not failure.
Training of any sort teaches you self-knowledge. All experiences are valid and contribute to the acquisition of wisdom, patience, and compassion.