v. strug·gled, strug·gling, strug·gles
1. To exert muscular energy, as against a material force or mass: struggled with the heavy load.
2. To be strenuously engaged with a problem, task, or undertaking: struggled with his math homework.
3. To make a strenuous effort; strive: struggled to be polite.
4. To contend or compete: "Right and wrong ... will ever continue to struggle" (Abraham Lincoln).
5. To progress with difficulty: struggled through the novel.
Sifu is a Chinese (Cantonese) term for “master” or “teacher”, generally referring to a teacher of martial arts. (In Mandarin the term is Shifu, essentially meaning “teacher father”.)
Hip Hop (and “Fit Hop”) artist, Stic.man from dead prez & RBG Fit Club, has a song on his solo album “The Workout” called “Champion”. One of the lyrics in it says, “The secret is, the power exists in all people, the struggle is the Sifu if you learn to let it teach you.”
I think this line can apply to most anything we face in life. Generally anything that challenges us presents us with the opportunity for growth, we become stronger from the challenges-the struggles-we endure. The challenges may be physical, mental, or spiritual; but they all present opportunities for us to grow.
Think about this in the context of your training sessions. Whether you choose to strain underneath the iron, or put foot to the road and log the miles, your training will teach you something if you let it.
While the struggle in the gym gives you the opportunity for physical growth, there are mental and spiritual lessons wrapped up in that pile of iron as well. In order to become physically stronger, we must become mentally and spiritually stronger as well. True health and strength is achieved through the synergistic development of the mind, body, and spirit. This concept is something I touch on more deeply in my book, “Abundant Health: Fitness for the Mind, Body, and Spirit”.
Too many times people try to “tune out” during training by distracting themselves with iPods, TVs, Cardio Theater, books, and magazines. Instead I suggest “tuning in” to your training, feel the strain and the sweat. Get in tune with your breath and develop the mind muscle connection. Open your mind up to what your training is trying to tell you, because just as Stic says, “The struggle is the Sifu if you learn to let it teach you.”
Stay Strong AND Healthy,