Flexibility, Adaptability, and Martial Arts Mastery Keys, Key #8

“Resilience is the key to longevity.”

Think about this statement for a moment. Flexibility is the key to continuity.

I first encountered this statement nearly two decades ago when I was stationed with the US Army at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina. The operations sergeant in the military police unit blew it down to poster size and hung it on the wall behind his desk.

As with all new recruits to 21 MP, I was asked, “Do you understand what that means?” Like most I’m sure, my response to one of the seniors was, “Yes, Sergeant.” My assertion was not at all related to what I think of the same statement today.

To the disaffected young soldier who had better things to do than put up with the “hurry up and wait” organization I then realized, the phrase meant, “endure all the changes and changes we’ve made on you and you’ll last much longer.”

Ironically I found that – he was right! Except it’s not just an “army thing”. What I realized is that no matter if we are talking about a fight, a relationship, or just living, life is full of change. Indeed, there is nothing more permanent than change. Isn’t that funny? The only thing that does not change is change itself. and our individual ability to adjust to those changes in our lives, determining our level of happiness, contentment, and “survival.”

Statements like: “There is always something,” and “If it’s not one thing, then it’s another,” are true. It’s 100% accurate and the sad thing is – there’s absolutely nothing we can do about it. But this is also good news. We can stop chasing after hours. We can stop fighting change because it is a losing battle. Stress, or what most people call stress, the stress and anxiety that occurs when things don’t go our way, is what happens when we assume things will happen just because we want them to. We expect the world to magically conform to our desires without any awareness or planning on our part. “It worked yesterday,” that is the general belief along with “If it ain’t broke yet, it ain’t broke.”

In the scrolls of the Takagi-Yushin School of Martial War over the past hundreds of years, there is a key to winning every battle. It’s simple, and I’d like to share this ancient wisdom with you.

are you ready? there he is:

“Don’t enter a battle you can’t win.”

That’s it.

Our ability to be adaptable and have more than one way of doing things is essential to winning the battles of everyday life.

This poster means much more to me today than it did to that young man years ago. I can still hear the sergeant’s voice asking…

“…do you understand what you mean?”

And I can hear my answer to him.

“Yes, Sergeant.”

“It means…tolerating all the changes and changes being made to you and it will last longer.”

take a deep breath…

… relax and …

…enjoy the trip.

I’ll see you in class.

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