Last week in the dojo I had each of us go through a significant, physically demanding trial. Simple, but extremely challenging.
Pushups. Squats. Crunches.
How many? All of them! We performed as many repetitions as we could without stopping. Pushing ourselves to that point where the mind was willing, but there was nothing left in the muscles...man it's always tough.
We all pushed to our breaking point and then, once we were finished, we continued with more normal training.
After about a half hour, I presented the real challenge. Take your numbers from the first set of pushups, squats, and crunches and do 150% of the reps. Sure, breaks we allowed this time and while it was definitely an exercise in mental toughness, we were all pushing our bodies to a new limit.
We don't do that often enough. I am amazed some times at how much our bodies can do...that our bodies WANT to do...we just ask so little.
I'll never forget years ago talking with my wife and trying to explain what a Pistol Squat was. To this day, I still cannot do one. The envy that I felt when Amy said, "Is it like this?" before executing a perfect Pistol makes me smile to this day.
Our bodies are stronger. Much stronger than you think. Demand more and you'll see what you're capable of. Continue sitting on the couch, and you'll never tap into that greatness inside. Test yourself. Do one more rep. Run for one more mile. Do. One. More.
And get to the dojo.
"Samurai should, as a matter of course, engage in contests of strength. If you do not then your muscles will become slack."
The Hundred Rules of War