I had a quick conversation this morning after a 5:00am workout with a good friend of mine. We’re both training together and share a lot of the same unique year end goals, Blackbelt test. We talked about how other folks have seen our workouts and say that we push too hard, because what we show during training will only ratchet up the level of expectation during that test.

I’m not in the gym and the dojo day in and day out for the purpose of the test itself. Yes, it’s a goal, it’s a target that i’m reaching for, but that is only for motivation. There is plenty of work to be done to get to the point of being able to actually test in a year, but the work I put in during training is for me. That was my response; “I’m doing this for me, not for a test.” I mean this 100%.

If I’m only doing this to get ready for a test then I feel like i’ve already failed myself. By the time next January gets here, I don’t want to be in a position where I really care one way or the other that I pass. I want to KNOW that i’ve given everything I can in training for my own personal gain and growth and that the test is just that, a test, to see how I stack up. With the goal being to have already passed before I get to that point. To train just for the test itself feels conceited and beyond the point. Isn’t true humility the act of internalizing what you learn today and then using it to grow into a better version of yourself tomorrow?

So after meditating about this conversation and while writing out these ideas i’m having, I did what I always do and researched warriors who have gone before me. I found this Viking quote which I now love:

A warrior feeds his body well; he trains it; works on it. Where he lacks knowledge, he studies. But above all he must believe. He must believe in his strength of will, of purpose, of heart and soul.

My single purpose in training is to be a better me. The test is just that, a test to see if I’m better than I am now. If I allow more than that into my mind, then I will fail because I will have lost the reason for doing it in the first place.

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