Fall Seven Times, Stand Eight

You may have heard this proverb before. It is meant to remind you that no matter how many times you are knocked down, you keep getting up. The trouble we sometimes have with statements like this is we understand them well enough but have trouble following through!
How do you build the resilience to continue to fight when you are beaten down?

Be the first to rise.

Toward the end of a particularly hot and grueling training session, it is so tempting to sit against the wall to catch your breath until it’s time to fight again. Stand up.

You just want to rest your hands on your knees and take some deep breaths. STAND UP.

All you need is to lean on the wall for a few seconds and you’ll be ready to go again. STAND UP!

The act of standing up tall after a grueling match or training session is immensely valuable to you. When the entire class is working hard and exhausted, of course you are exhausted too…but don’t let it show. You could sit on the mat to tie your belt and fix your gi, or you could stand up and do it. You can lay back for a second and catch your breath…everyone else is doing that. Or you could stand up and stand tall. Your instructor knows you’re tired, they’ve definitely been there many times before…but when they look in your eyes they should only see determination and readiness to jump back in and do work. This isn’t a competition with your teammates, rather a self inflicted test of fortitude for you to crush. Challenge yourself to be the first to rise after tough training!

This is of course easier said than done. You won’t believe you are ok to do such a simple act as standing up. You will know it’s “not real”. You will fail sometimes. And sometimes, you may genuinely need to stay down (in case of medical issues injury, dizziness, etc). But FAR more often than not, if you simply stand tall as soon as possible, you will find you really are ok and soon ready to go. Remember that even if you feel awful and like you’re going to drop, if you did stand then you are tougher than those feelings!

The power of this simple act will build your self confidence over time, and help you realize that you are more resilient than you thought possible. It will set a powerful example to your classmates, particularly the junior ranks, of what kind of toughness and grit we build in Jiu Jitsu training.

You will find that this attitude of being first to rise carries over into other aspects of your life. When you encounter a difficult situation that would normally crush you for the day, you may find you are able to rise up, detach and attack the problem more effectively. If you are confronted with a real life self defense scenario and think you can’t survive and prevail, you can dig deep and find that strength to stand up again and again until you win. You WILL be more resilient and face struggle, adversity and hardship with a renewed toughness and determination. Practice this often and revel in your newfound strength!

Be first to rise!