Just a short paragraph as we begin 2012- the year of the dreaded Mayan Prophecy. Martial Arts brings many things to the table. With a good program and dedicated training martial arts quite simply makes us realize that we are not made of paper. This is the toughen up factor. For example, I suffered a broken toe last time I sparred. It occurred about half way through fight night. I knew that I probably broke it. Instead of throwing in the towel I continued sparring and made the adjustments and compensated for the pain. The next day my toe was swollen and bruised confirming the break. Keep in mind, I kept going because there was not any long term risk to my health and future- in other words it was no big deal. This isn’t a pat me on the back entry. Prior to beginning martial arts fifteen years ago I would have made a big deal about breaking my toe. I probably would have gone to the doctor, gotten the boot, recruited my Mom’s sympathy, and called off work for a day or two. I certainly would have spent plenty of time resting and milking the injury. Martial arts has made me realize I can train and live life with broken ribs, a broken nose, a broken finger, and so on. In other words it has made me tougher through the adversity and inevitable injuries. It allowed me to prove something to myself- that I am not made of paper, and that I can suffer the occasional injury and still live life pretty close to normal. Many of my fellow martial artists have demonstrated the same tough factor. Many of my students have trained through pulled muscles, jammed or broken fingers, and simply being less than one hundred percent. The students who train through being less than one hundred percent have captured the spirit of ‘toughen up’. Over the years I’ve also seen students that injured themselves with a slight muscle pull or something small disappear for a long period of time. Sadly, these students have not captured ‘toughening up’. Keep in mind these are small injuries that I am covering. I am certainly not discussing a torn ACL, the swine flue, or even punctured lungs. It’s important to train if we are at seventy-five percent or above. Let’s suggest that one of my students tweaked his hamstring doing something outside of class. He has two choices- either rest until it’s healed or train compensating for the injured hamstring. Allow me to add another thought- said student with a sore hamstring goes to the mall. While getting out of his car he is approached by someone with bad intentions. The student with the sore hamstring can’t suggest to his mugger that he should find someone else who’s at one hundred percent capacity. So, the bottom line is train through small injuries. Train when you don’t feel one hundred percent. You will learn so much more about yourself and your training program.