January 3, 2015 marked my second year in Filipino Martial Arts. Unlike the “I breathe-think-talk-do-FMA-all- day-long” first anniversary, this one was quiet and reflective. As some of you may know, I got tired of FMA. Some months back, I burned out bad and needed a time away.
And so, rest from FMA I did.
And you know what? Along the way I realized that, just like in everything else in life, taking a break is not bad at all. In fact, it has numerous benefits and I learned some valuable life lessons:
1. The world will continue to revolve even without you.
I’m embarrassed to admit it even to myself, but I had that secret pride in my heart and thought that my group wouldn’t be the same without me: They’d be lonely when I don’t show up for practice. For sure they’ll miss me.
Who was I kidding? They continued to train and enjoy their sessions!
Aside from training, I was also supportive in tournaments. I was active in the behind the scenes work like documentation, housekeeping, and food preparation. But since I was taking a break, I didn’t help during the latest tournament our group organized. I did go just to watch. And you know what? They still did well and the tournament was a success.
Note to self: Nobody’s indispensable.
2. Sometimes it takes the insight of others to make you realize a truth
As a substitute for my FMA training, I signed up for a full marathon and joined a running group. I’m deep into training now and I can honestly say that I do like running. But last night, as hubby and I were having our usual after dinner tea, I was a bit surprised when he said “After your marathon, you should go back to FMA. It’s what you love. You were happier when you were in it.” I was a bit taken aback because he said it so bluntly. Really? Did it really show?
After some speechless moments, and feeling sort of weird and relieved at the same time, I finally declared, “You’re right, I was happier when I was in FMA.”
Sometimes you just need to hear it from others.
3. The saying “different strokes for different folks” is true
I met and talked with different athletes – runners, bikers, triathletes, judokas, fencers, archers, and even a few from other FMA styles. All of them are passionate about their sport. One simple question like “Why do you like your sport?” will lead to a long enumeration of all the good things about it. Sure, FMA is good, and I think it is one of the best martial arts/sports in the world. But that’s for me. What I like at this point in my life, is the best sport for me. That goes for the others also. We cannot be smug and declare that ours is the best and nothing else.
4. The right words, said at the right time soothe.
When I told my friends that I was tired of FMA, they did not shake their heads and say, “I knew that would happen…” Instead they were encouraging and kind:
- It’s ok. Music has intervals between notes
- Life is a constant flow
- Taking physical and mental breaks is good
- Take your time
- Fall in love with the long walk
- Come and spend a few days at my family’s place
- I also felt the same way, many times in the past
5. Rest gives you the opportunity to go back to the drawing board
Burning out is a harsh way to learn, and I wouldn’t wish it on anybody. But sometimes changes in behavior can only happen with strong shocks to the system. Stepping back gives the opportunity to evaluate habits and attitudes and correct what needs correcting. What comes out will be clearer and better.
And that, my friends, is a good thing.