Often when I lead warm-ups and we are stretching, I say “reach until it hurts” or “if it’s not hurting, it’s not working”. This is literal guidance. Stretching isn’t effective if your are not in discomfort because your muscles need to grow.
This is also a useful metaphor. Growth does not occur in environments of peace & harmony. There is a reason why autumn is planting season for lawns, and not the heat of summer. Storms are needed because storms provide water. Nothing grows without water. Nothing grows without a storm.
You should check out this blog post – Seeking Refuge in the Storm…….How to Grow Through Pain! by Meredith on the blog Chaotically Blessed because this point is made with this very metaphor:
There is something we all need to realize…. there is purpose in your pain. We DO NOT GROW when things are EASY……WE GROW when things are HARD!!! Plain and simple…..just as all the things of the earth need the rain to grow, so do we. The crops, the grass, the flowers, the trees….they all need the rain. Even in the midst of turmoil when we feel the world is against us……there is growth to be found with in it.
There is no point to coming into class and knowing everything. Sure, that is very comfortable and you feel like the top boss flexing stones on everyone. But you can do that at home. If we are not teaching you anything at karate class, why come to karate class? You could practice at home. Part of this falls on the instructors to make sure we are creating drills and situations to challenge you.
But it also falls on you. If you are not trying to kick a little higher, or if you are not trying to learn the next bit of your next form, then you are not truly trying to stretch yourself. Sure, it may seem scary, but this is how we grow. Like the post says, there is purpose to your pain. It may seem murky now, but you will get through it and improve. Stay the course!