The biiiig C word and finding my way in martial arts

Discussion in 'Beginners Corner' started by whitebeltforever, Jan 9, 2019.

  1. whitebeltforever

    whitebeltforever Orange Belt

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    Hi everybody! I remember reading the "When will you quit" post on here a few years ago and thinking oh my godddd i really hope i dont quit!! I am going to do my practices every week and and and i will blah de blah de blah blah i really really hope that i don't quit!

    I came back to class the other week after a long time away and someone gave me the evil eye... Lol so it made me think about my life and i just wanted to share my story with everyone.. Its probably going to be a bit of a long story but i hope it will be an interesting one....

    And i hope those with illness and beginners also read this...

    Sometimes you find martial arts... And other times it finds you... And wont let you go...

    I started my martial arts journey about 2010 when i got randomly punched on the street... Well, it wasn't on the street, it was about 3pm, when kids are returning home and tourists roam around in the city, next to the beautiful river that i have come to call my new home... It happened at a tram stop and i called out for help but no one came to my aid and my attacker left by then. I asked the tram driver for help but he said "ahh they prly punched ya cause you're asian love." and drove off, let me off at a police station and they didn't do anything because i didnt have a broken jaw or a black eye and i didnt have a bleeding nose or anything and there was no one to convict, no one saw me getting punched and basically it was just not the best use of police time.

    I have had systemic lupus since 1998, and was hospitalized when the disease attacked my brain and my kidneys (lupus is an incurable autoimmune disease also known as the disease of a thousand faces because it attacks everything in the body's systems). I weighed about 45kgs at one point (i stand about 167cms or 5'6 tall), and could not recognize my own face in the mirror. I was 18 years old and spent my 19th birthday in hospital. And also due to my environment when i was growing up, i also have complex ptsd, a form of ptsd but repeated truamas since childhood.

    So in 2010 i started karate in the closest place i could find to home... A bit ignorant of what to do coming from a background of um... Lets see... Dance and modelling... I didnt know what to expect... Still, i signed up and was doing very well for about 5 lessons. On the 6th lesson the instructor paired me up with a very tall and big guy and said "look after my girl here ok?" and so i punched him with my 6 days of karate experience and he was very annoyed because "WHY DON'T YOU PUNCH HARDER??" i cowered a bit and attemted to punch harder but it wasnt enough nd he felt the urge to show me just how hard i should be punching him... You should all know at theis point that he was a white belt (of course) and i was shaking in my tutu by then and before i could say "oh look im just starting so i want to have my technique right before i do it harder", he punched me in the same shoulder as when i got punched at the tram stop... But much, much harder, right above my breast but not missing breast tissue (men, our breasts are kind of like your nuts really so i don't think i need to say more lol). It wasnt the hardness of the punch even... It was that he saw me as such a small, insignificant, despicable, useless thing that he didn't even bother treating me like a human being to respect me as a fellow student that hurt even more than the punch that nearly knocked me to my bum. And as i stumbled back from the heavy hit, mearly missing the floor, my whole life flashed before my eyes of when people have wronged me and abused me and treated me like a bit of garbage my entire life, and... i left.

    I quit. Not because i just threw in the towel because my ego was bruised, but because certain things like being intimidated, being assaulted, and confronted that makes a person with ptsd react with so much overwhelming emotions that you can try all you want but your limbs will not stop shaking and your eyes wont stop leaking a flood tears, and you gather yourself to go buy groceries but rush back because every single thing outside the comfort and safety of your own home makes you so terrified after a traumatic event that you will have panic attack after panic attack untill you fall asleep from sheer exhaustion.

    So i quit.

    In 2015 i started karate near my new home with my boyfriend. And after realising that my lupus arthritis and fatigue, which is not the same thing as being tired, became so bad that it made it hard to attend class, i gave up again.

    The year was 2016 when my world came crumbling down around me when 2 days before i was due to start my Placement for university course i had worked so so hard for. Being a migrant child growing up in a small town of white people and believing the racist things i was told since i was 10yrs old, this course meant everything to me. I got a call from the doctor to say that i have breast cancer. I layed on the floor after that call and i cried untill all the events that followed seemed like a big blur and now its 2019... I had breast cancer.... I not only had breast cancer... But i had triple negative breast cancer. This means that it is untreatable by the new medications and i had to undergo heavy duty chemotherapy and radiotherapy after. They removed a near 5cm massive tumour and some of my lymph nodes. I tried to save my eggs so i can have a chance to a child later in life but that was unsuccessful.

    Once before my big surgery my boyfriend took me to a festival. I felt so out of my body and distraught that i ran through the crowd crying and fell over near a shopfront, and broke down and cried and cried until my boyfriend found me in a small puddle of desperation,crying and screaming and rocking back and forth in the corner of a street incomprehensible...
    I was 35 years old... It isn't my time yet... "i will miss the sky" i thought... And all my pets... And my loved ones... I will miss all the good food and what fun this humanly world can give me...

    Fast forward a few months and i just started chemotherapy. I went to a bjj class and was immediately hooked. Unfortunately for me i had to quit at least for a few months after the very first class because i twisted my ankle and it took a whole longer to heal now than ever before.

    But i went back again and in a couple of classes i had a new fun interest i enjoyed... And i did it all bald from chemo and sore from being so weak... Another blow as one of the students had a cold she caught from her work as a nurse... And if you are not familiar with how chemo works, it makes you so seceptable to a cold that you can die from it. The infection can enter your bloodstream and you will have to go through blood transfusions and if you live, it may take a few months before things are back to the shitty new normal you will have to be used to for a very very long time to come.

    So i had this cold and was rushed to emergency a few times, and when i got better i went back again... And then hurt myself again, then gone back again and then got another 3 months long cold, then gone back again.

    I didn't quit. But I'm sure it seemed to others like i have quit. But i knew. I knew i didn't quit. And i wanted to keep going for no other reason than that it was so fun that i forget the world...

    Fast forward a couple of years and i am now nearly 3 years in remission. How cancer works is that it can come back any time. So you aren't "cured", you have a scan every year for the rest of your life and if they don't find anything, you are deemed "in remission".

    My relationship has taken a toll 2018 and i lost my beautiful pet bunny whom i loved very very much... I couldn't cope and my training took a backseat yet again. Well, that plus the fact that i was sick at least 5 times every year the last few years, each "cold" lasting for a month or more at a time. Sometimes i will get better for about a week and il get sick again, powerless to puch myself back up to walk to the toilet, let alone training.

    About a year ago i discovered judo too and i think i like it more than ll the martial arts that i have tried so far... I love punching and kicking too but you can do the maths if i am sick for 5 or more months a year plus or minus injuries, just how much actual time i have when im not bound by illness.

    Still...
    I HAVE NOT QUIT.
    To the person who don't know my story, I'm just another cowardly, egotistic and slack lazy bum who can't be bothered going to class. But for every person who has a story... And thats all of us, i think maybe the problem isn't that people wuit, but that we don't know their story. And perhaps if we asked and took the time to ask, they may feel like its safe to come back... Of course cowardly, egotistic and slack lazy bums also exist but even they have a deep untold story that may be preventing them from training and perhaps even preventing them from living the life they want... Maybe someone or something has taught them to fear from an early age. Maybe something else... Whatever the reason, we can all use a little more understanding from time to time.

    I discovered recently that theres a whole philosophy with judo just like the philosophies of yogic practices (i used to teach yoga, but not the type you do in a gym lol), and i am facinated by how i can use judo or whatever other martial philosophy or yogic philosophy to guide me through life and its difficulties... Life sure is suffering as buddah said... But life is also more managable when you have martial arts in it... Not the other way around... You dont have a perfect life before you train for 10yrs in martial arts.... You cannot have a perfect body thats "fit enough" or strong enough and THEN you start doing more martial arts... You do martial arts and then you start noticing more strength and more finess and more mental resilience etc... And if you have to stay away then do... But when you return you will realise why it was so SO great that you didn't let it go completely. And it doesnt even matter if you are away for a lonnnggggg time or a short time, as long as you come back. Be gentle to yourself, be forgiving of others and be patient... Grit your teeth and wait... Wait untill you can train again... These things i say to myself when i am away. And these things i say to myself when i feel like my martial arts journey is over. And your coaches will not shun you if you just want to do technique. In fact they will admire you for doing techniques instead of nothing...

    I thank you for the long agonising read if you have made it this far lol and thank you a thousand times... I thank you so much for letting me tell my story... But whats yours? If you are in this for life like i want to be, how have you overcome your obstacles? What is your story in martial arts?
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2019
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  2. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Thank you for sharing this. That's a really inspiring story, it's amazing how much people will pursue the things that they enjoy. And congratulations, you may be technically in remission, but right now, in this moment, you are cancer free, and won that battle. And it's a tougher battle than any that you'll receive in the dojo or in a ring, don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
     
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  3. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Thank you for that. I've not had anything like your struggles, though I've had my own obstacles. I've also watched training partners and students struggle with theirs. Some quit. I think all of them who quit had (to them) good reasons - most often, it was about priorities. For some, it was about how their body was reacting to the training (no sense making things worse). I get frustrated because I can't share my joy with them, but I'm frustrated for them, not at them. Some of them really enjoyed their training, but life or health got in their way. They didn't have the same level of physical issues you've had, but it was enough to make it not worth training, to them. For me, I have a hard time imagining not training. I've had times away from formal training a few times over the years, but I keep doing some on my own, and I always seem to find my way back. So long as I can physically manage it, I suspect I'll keep coming back.

    Sounds like you will, too.
     
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  4. dvcochran

    dvcochran Master Black Belt

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    Stories of life unfolding are the most amazing reading. Life is a struggle for everyone but certainly some experience more adversity than others. Your determination is inspiring. Never feel like you have a label. Simply be another person striving to be a better version of themselves. You start/stop history in MA is tough. I hope you find a style and push through to where you know it is YOURS. Keep in touch.
     
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  5. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng All weight is underside

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  6. Tony Dismukes

    Tony Dismukes MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Glad to hear that you are still finding value in your training and are doing your best to keep at it, despite your challenges. I hope that things get easier for you and that you are able to keep training.

    Only someone with a severely ... limited perspective (to put it politely) will judge someone as a "cowardly, egotistic and slack lazy bum" because they don't show up for martial arts class regularly. We all have our own challenges and life priorities. Even for those of us oddballs who are genuine martial arts fanatics, the dojo usually isn't (and shouldn't be) at the very top of our priority list.

    There are some martial arts instructors who don't want to bother with students unless they know the student will be able to commit to consistent, frequent, long-term training. I have a different outlook. I know that life is unpredictable and any given student may or may not be coming back soon. Therefore I do my best to make sure they get something of value out of the current class that they can take with them even if they don't come back next week, or next month, or next year, or ever.
     
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  7. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Love your story! Keep going and enjoy the training!
     
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  8. Buka

    Buka MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Welcome home, girl. :) Nice to see you again.
     
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  9. oftheherd1

    oftheherd1 Senior Master

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    My wife has fibromyalgia. I understand very well the toll chronic painful diseases can take on a person and their loved ones, and the lack of understanding from those who don't suffer from those diseases. And from your post, you have obviously had more than your share of medical problems. Most people would have difficulties with only one of your problems. I salute you!

    Martial arts can indeed help lots of people with physical and social problems. I hope they continue to do so for you.

    But if other things don't work out, you might wish to consider working in journalism or some other creative writing field. Seriously, you really seem to have a knack for writing; you really do write well. Is that perhaps your field of study in university?

    For what it is worth, embrace the idea that anyone else can define you. Only you can do that. If others don't agree with your evaluation of yourself as a good and worthwhile person, avoid them. It is their loss. It should not be yours as well.

    Meanwhile, keep at it. In my experience perseverance can overcome difficulties more than most anything. But especially in martial arts.

    Please keep us informed of your progress. From what I have seen and heard, Judo is a really great art.
     
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  10. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Master Black Belt

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    ... wow.

    That's such an incredible story, and so, so inspiring, especially to me. Thank you so much for sharing it!!!

    I've had a few obstacles in life, ranging from deep depression, anxiety, and the latest being struggling with chronic pelvic pain for the last year and a half. Especially with the lack of knowledge about it (5 times to emergency, and none of the doctors knew what was going on or could help).

    It is much better than what it was, but it can be incredibly debilitating... when a flareup happens it can be very disheartening. Overcoming it has been the biggest challenge.. but it has also taught me so, so much. It is still an ongoing thing that I have to understand, but it really does involve being gentle and kind with myself. Learning how to relax and learning how to trust life. And I also know how much martial arts means to me from it.

    It's not over, but I can see just how important it was for me to go through, and truly what lessons I had to learn. Lessons that I could ONLY learn through undergoing it.

    Thank you so much for sharing, as incredibly hard as it is to see, there is always a much deeper meaning behind these trials, even if it was to share it with us and act as a beacon of light and inspiration for us.

    *bows*
     
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  11. spidersam

    spidersam Yellow Belt

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    Thank you for sharing. I'm glad you have found your martial arts.

    It's hard to explain why MA brings so much joy, but being there in the dojo makes everything bad go away. It's peace. Sure sometimes you get suckerpunched and a few tears fall from your eyes, but even then I go home smiling. It's like music, and it helps you find yourself.

    I've had some unhappy experiences that I won't share over the internet. And I think a lot of people might. But we all go back to the same home. Oss!
     
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