I often find the classes I dread the most turn out to be the best. Perhaps I've had a bad day, and would like nothing more than to take the day off. Lately, I've been at the computer too much, (ah, the travesty of having a real job, too), and don't want to stress my joints too much.

Almost invariably, I find the class to be good. My joints put themselves back in the right places. Class goes smoothly, or it will even be a breakthrough.

Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) the classes that I go into expecting to go excellently deliver my ego a blow. This includes teaching and learning. As with many things in karate, this seems counter to logic. If I'm psyched up, focused, shouldn't class go well?

If karate did work logically like that, it wouldn't work. It wouldn't strengthen your weakest link, as it is designed to. That's the great thing about karate vs many other less wholistic forms of exercise.

Exercise adherence is actually a research topic in my some physical education programs. Like dieting, it's one of those things that people try for a little while, and stop. lirinfae discusses some of the reasons people quit karate, but I actually think adherence is alot better in martial arts due to the above mentioned reason.. among others, but that's a topic for another blog entry.

Think of someone you know who has attained some rank in the martial arts. Now think of people you know in other disciplines who have continued with that kind of longevity. I am hard pressed to think of people in other areas who continue their physical exertions with that kind of longevity.

The reasons for quitting karate are many, but these obstactes are the reason one comes to karate in the first place. Sure, burnout happens. In karate and in real life. Surmount that obstactle, strengthen that link. Injury? Health is probably one of the reasons for starting karate. Learn to not get injured! Strengthen that link. Politics? Also real life. Use the microcosm of the dojo to discover how to handle these issues elsewhere. Other commitment is a hard one, but ask yourself, can you meet these commitments to other people, if you can not meet a commitment to yourself? Viewed from the other angle, learning to keep commitments to yourself will discipline you to meet them with other people. Strengthen that link.

So, next time you feel like stopping, look for the weak link. It doesn't take heroic effort, it just takes a small thing, insignificant. Get up. Go. You made it. now go home. rest. repeat.