Episode 14: Body-Respect & Body-Care
In this episode of the Martial Art of Self, we look at some dimensions of body-respect and body-care.
It has become mainstream to drive our bodies to the limit in an unnatural, and harmful pace, and way. Unfortunately, we mostly treat our body as a driving vessel for our self-interest, our desires, wants, and needs only.
We miss the fact that the body is one of the most important manifestation we have in our life that makes or breaks our physical life-quality. We live with our bodies day in and out. It is here from start to end. Through good, and bad. A true unconditional companion. Hence, we should treat it a lot better.
In this episode, I talk about how I became aware of treating my body ill with my martial arts training, and how I approached my training. I share a few of the viewpoints, and realizations that opened up for me when I looked at this point of how I treat my body through the process of self-inquiry in self-honesty.
Music by Fidelis Spies
[00:00:00] Welcome to the Martial Art of Self podcast, a podcast about bringing the essence of martial arts back to self.
[00:00:12] Hi everyone, this is Aldin and in today’s episode we are talking about some dimensions of body respect and body care.
[00:00:22] I have been looking at this point recently that I have been doing and that I’m still doing very often and that I see is a mainstream mentality when it comes to personal fitness, to exercising and martial arts, for example.
[00:00:38] And it’s visible a lot– a lot in us men. Where we keep pushing ourselves physically with the mentality of ‘no pain, no gain’. And– and in that we ignore our physical bodies signaling and communication to us in forms of pains and aches. And instead of listening to them, instead of listening to my body and to my body trying to communicate to me i resort to ignorance.
[00:01:08] I– where I ignore the body and what it’s trying to communicate to me because I believe that I know best under the motto of ‘no pain and no gain’. And I mean, I believe I have– where there is this belief I have, that I have to tear myself and my body down physically in order to see, and– any– any results, effects or improvements.
[00:01:37] But rarely have I considered that my body is not just trying to communicate and tell me something blindly or because it is bored, but because it’s important and I may– and I may be in my ego and I may be tunnel visioned on my outcome only or on my desires or what I believe I know about the physical and so I ignore it.
[00:01:59] While, I mean, the truth is I do not know but a fraction of the physical body and this physical existence. And so I should listen to my body when it tries to communicate to me through pains, aches, and– and see how I can support the body and how can I support me through that.
[00:02:17] I mean not to stop what I’m doing or to give up on my training, of course, or– or give up on my sports or my martial arts. No, to still keep active and keep at my training, but work with the body. Work with my body instead of against it.
[00:02:34] I mean, I shouldn’t treat my body as if it is my slave and as if it is a slave to my desires and my will only. While it is clear, I mean, that without my physical body no desire or no will of mine can and will be fulfilled or achieved.
[00:02:49] If my body deteriorates or dysfunctions in any way, then I have compromised the medium, the platform through which I create in this physical reality, in this physical world. So common sense tells me that I should treat my body, that I should treat the body in general, with respect and with care.
[00:03:10] I mean for me as a male, I have– I’ve seen that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to think and to believe that care is a weakness. And that showing care as a male or as a martial artist in this case is a sign of weakness. For, I believe in what I have heard from others. What I have seen in specific movies, in and specific images shown to me in books and movies and scriptures – that only hardness and being hard and tough means to be a real man and a real martial artist.
[00:03:45] But let’s consider that giving care, and taking care is not a weakness and does not make me a lesser man or does not make us a lesser man or a lesser a martial artist.
[00:03:59] I would say on the contrary. I would argue for the contrary. Meaning that it actually speaks volumes about our character if we treat our body with care. Our body, which is in the form of physical matter that makes our life on earth possible. And it makes it possible for us to perform our passions in the first place, such as doing our martial arts training, working out, strengthening, doing kicks and punches, and– and developing as a martial artist in general and so on.
[00:04:29] I mean, I– I encouraged myself to look at this relationship in another way: if I were to switch places with my body where my body is me and I am my body in manifestation and thus my body treats me the way that I treat it with– with mottos is like ‘no pain, no gain’ or ‘mind over matter’ or ‘bleed or go home’, ‘pain is irrelevant’, and so on. I mean, honestly, I would flip upside down and throw a tantrum as I would not want to be treated this way. And I wouldn’t want to– I wouldn’t be able to see what I did wrong to be treated in this disrespectful and inconsiderate way by the individual that inhabits me, and that I– that I support in his life to make its life even possible on this planet, on this earth.
[00:05:16] I mean, the truth is that if I compromise my body through reckless and ego-based training to a state that my body breaks down, I will be left with a body of chronic pain and lesser functionality. In extreme cases, even to the point where the physical movement will be just plain hell or not possible at all.
[00:05:35] In that state, all my hours, all my effort, all my grind that I put recklessly into my training and into ‘toughening’ my body at an unnatural and brutal pace will mean absolutely nothing when I destroy the ‘vessel’ that makes my life on earth possible in the first place. When I destroy the vessel through which I can even in the first place perform such things as train my martial arts, do my Taiji, do my Taekwondo, do my Jeet Kune Do, my karate, do my sports, my yoga, pilates, mountain climbing and so on.
[00:06:14] Meaning that once I’ve wrecked my body through my egotistical way of training and through not taking care of it and through not developing an awareness of the things it tries to communicate to me through pains and so on – it is too late to repair. And I’m sure I will meet regret at that age or time in my life and look back at the time now where I could have still changed course by listening more to my body and working with it instead of against it or seeing it as just a vessel that must fulfill my commands to achieve the desires and wants and needs that I have.
[00:06:50]I believe that self care and body care as a martial artist is the next frontier we have to conquer, so to speak, and explore, and work with practically. The time of bashing our bodies and treating it– and treating them ill and waging a war against it has to stop. It has to come to an end. And a new time and– and the era of self-awareness, of supportive body-awareness and working with our body, and to better the relationship we have to our body in a supportive way – is here now.
[00:07:21] I mean, look at it. Our body is the only form we have in this life that makes this thing that we call ‘my life’ and ‘my life experience’ even possible. If we mistreat it, we– we equally wreck our quality of life. As we can see in a lot of people whose physical vessel or form is compromised. I mean their physical life quality is equally compromised.
[00:07:45] And I realized that I have to stop– that I have to step out of this dogma. This dogma that says that caring– or where I believe that caring and taking care of me and my body as a martial artist and as a male is a weakness or– or in some form ‘de-mans’ me, if you will, or devalues me as a martial artist.
[00:08:07] Where, I mean the times of self-judgment have to come to an end. And I have to start doing what is best for me and my physical body to treat it well and with respect. Like I would want to– like I would want to be treated in switched places or switched life circumstances.
[00:08:26] So, further what I realized is that I– that I need to change the starting point of my training. For it to no longer approach it from this point of view of “I’m going to assert my mind over matter” in extreme ways and in this way of “I’m going to push and push and push and ignore all signs and signals and pains and aches of my body.”
[00:08:49] I have to stop this way of seeing my body as this– as this slave having to abide my will only and exist for the sole reason and purpose to fulfill my personal wants, needs, and desires I have of what I want to have and create in me as me and in my reality.
[00:09:07] I mean, my body is not here to serve my self-interest only.
[00:09:13] And I would like to end off with: instead of just making it about me, me, me – we should start looking at working with the one thing in this life we have and are in fact inside of that makes our life on earth possible and lets us do the things that are our passions such as martial arts in the first place.
[00:09:36] And there is a lot to do to better our relationship with our bodies. There is a lot of work we need to do. And the way we treat our body – I mean, it’s also a direct one-to-one reflection of how we treat ourselves inside ourselves. And, that is a lot to take in and it’s enough to start working– to start working on us and through.
[00:10:03] Thank you very much. See you in the next episode.
[00:10:07] Thank you for listening to the Martial Art of Self podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, then please subscribe and leave a review on iTunes. You can also follow this podcast on Twitter and Instagram. For more information about the Martial Art of Self, please visit martialartofself.com