China 2019 – Day 22, Thursday, 8th August

Time is going rapidly now and I have just over a week left in China on this visit.

The more time I spend here and peel back the curtain of what once seemed to me like a vast, mysterious country, the more I fall in love with it.

The language, the people, of course the food, the martial arts, and it almost goes without saying, the stunning and incredibly varied landscapes.

I think I must have a thing for vast mysterious countries. The other country that I have explored and spent considerable time in, rather than just scratching the surface as a tourist, was Russia.

(Seems that Communist superpowers are my thing!)

I like to visit places that offer a challenge and are very different to what I am used to.

Spending my vacation time in the confines of an all inclusive resort would for me be like a slow agonising form of torture. I did it once. I was like a wild animal that suddenly became domesticated, I got moody, depressed and fat.

I’ve spoken before in the blog posts – and I have written a lot recently, so you will have to forgive me if I repeat myself – about my belief in the benefits of getting out of your comfort zone.

Any kind of growth is aggressive, dramatic, often painful – it is not a comfortable experience (Remember growing pains!?).

The antithesis is withering away. The alternative is stagnation. Neither are desirable.

For me, any form of development – be it mental, physical, even spiritual – is a result of facing challenges and overcoming them, persisting in the face of difficulty, defeating the odds. For every person these factors will be different.

If you are not facing and overcoming challenges, obstacles, difficulties – you are not truly living!

Get up out of your chair and do something, plan a trip (not to a 5* resort!!), give yourself an exercise goal, find something to read that’s not a trashy novel or gossip magazine, learn how to cook some new meals, learn a language, ask someone interesting out for a coffee, sign up for an adult education course, learn to fly…even learn Tai Chi! The list of possibilities is endless and will be different for everyone…

Just do something that challenges you – and then something else, then something else…and on, and on, and on.

Once you’ve got the hang of it, thing big…actually screw that…think HUGE!

Taking a martial arts club for example. If you think you’ll have a small class, get 7 or 8 people in and have a nice little group, you’ll predominantly plod along with 2 or 3 people each week.

Not until I shifted my mindset to targeting a huge club with hundreds of students, across the world did things start to truly take off.

Everything takes longer than you want it to, is more difficult than you want it to be, costs more than you hoped it would, is more exhausting than you expected… That’s life, that’s the process, that’s the struggle and the pain of growth but that’s where the gold is. That’s how you become the best person that you can be at this particular point in time.

Being old is not an excuse.

Being young is not an excuse.

Being poor, rich, happy, sad, injured, depressed, in love, lonely, afraid…

There are no excuses. Grab a hold of life and live it to the best of your ability.

Ok…rant over.

After a very hot and humid day the evening thunderstorm was very welcome! I went out for a run through the paddy fields and by the river in the warm rain as the thunder and lightening went on around me.

I’m getting closer and closer to finishing the Chen 74 form – should get it all before I leave on Wednesday, which I will be pretty pleased about, in addition to the broadsword – then the hard work starts – perfecting both!

Below photos from my evening run.

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