Day 33 – Sparring with Frustration

One of the major components of most martial arts training is sparring. When I explain what sparring is to a new student I usually describe it as

the dynamic use of our fighting techniques, the closest we can safely get to real self-defense situations.

I go on to explain that while we have rules that keep sparring safe, we still get to experience what is like to get hit, to be put into positions of disadvantage and to have to “think on our feet while under stress and pressure.”

Today I got a glimpse of another kind of sparring that EVERYONE does, probably daily, even if they have never donned a uniform or stepped onto the mats…

We all spar with FRUSTRATION!

The real question is… How do you handle it?

Do you handle frustration like a fighter who is “gassed out”?

A fighter who has “gassed out” has the will and deep desire to get out of harm’s way, but simply has nothing left in the tank to make that happen. They absorb every blow until the grand finale, when they finally take one too many and hit the mat. People often do the same with the daily frustrations. They “internalize” everything, letting the negative energy of the frustration build, like the damage from an opponent’s strikes and kicks. Eventually they either explode or implode, either way the results are extremely unhealthy. Are you the type of person that absorbs every “strike and kick” that life dishes out?


Are you a seasoned fighter? Do you “deflect and redirect” the incoming attempts to disrupt your life?

A seasoned fighter knows that the best way to win the fight is by taking as little damage as possible along the way. They deflect incoming strikes and kicks, rendering them less effective by giving them a the “nudge” they need to miss their target. They do their best to avoid “blocking with their face”, instead giving the strike or kick a “shoulder to land on”. When dealing with life’s frustrations we can do the same. Don’t let the situation “get in your face”, keep moving, keep trying and let the problem land on your shoulders – they were built for the load! Learn to redirect the negative energy of your frustration into positive direction. A good self-defense fighter will use the principles of Aikido and redirect the attacker’s incoming energy, using it against them. When you become frustrated, take that energy and turn it towards finding and executing a “fighting solution”, don’t absorb it and let it do its damage!


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