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Too much is too much!


Our sport clearly has many wonderful sides, but it also has its shoals. And probably no one who practices it in the long term will not have already come across the fact that it is sometimes quite difficult to find the right balance and put the right weight on things. Especially when an unhealthy ambition gets involved, there is a risk that we will do too much of a good thing. And since we often do not react when life beckons us with the fence post, it must then slow us down roughly.

The I Ching also expresses itself on this topic, since it is its aim to cover all areas of life. The relevant hexagram is number 28, with the title:


Hexagram 28 has an overloaded ridge beam as a symbol (this is the central beam on which the entire roof structure hangs). Here the bar in the free-floating middle is extremely thick and heavy, while it becomes thin and rotten towards the overlying ends. This fatal imbalance ensures that the bar in the middle bends dangerously. The message is clear: if nothing changes here, it will eventually break and tear down the whole house.

This picture can easily be applied to the supporting structures in our life. These basics primarily include our body, on which everything else ultimately depends. In training, our body lets us experience a great desire to function; it is simply a pleasure to experience it as strong and efficient, smooth, skillful and elegant. It is always amazing what we can get out of it. And in general he does a lot of good-naturedly. But - and our head doesn't want to admit that - our physique also sets limits. Unfortunately, like Superman or even the bulky kung fu panda, we CANNOT overcome gravity and break through walls with the left, we are not inviolable, not needless, not immortal. No, we have knees and shoulders and hips, spines and joints, and much more, which can be a hell of a lot of trouble ... While the older semesters in training learned more or less painfully to take care of their bodies and work with them (otherwise they would no longer be among us), it is often a shocking experience for the younger ones that their body is not limitlessly resilient, that it does not simply play along, that muscles pull, joints block, bones break ... evil awakening from the beautiful dream of being able to achieve everything if you only have talent and are ready to train hard.

In my twenty-seven-year taekwondo career, I have seen this humble awakening in many things. And I also experienced it firsthand: like most others, I also had minor ailments every now and then, which I did not try to take seriously, but simply regarded as a normal tribute to joy. The essential knowledge came only at the age of 34. At that time, the structures of my life were tense, my marriage was in disarray, I was worried about my livelihood, I couldn't get to sleep between moving, work, training, new studies, guilt and amorous complications, and then when I did wanted to pass my green belt test in between, there was a loud bang during the break test! - No, not the board, I hadn't hit that right. The penetrating whip came from my Achilles tendon, which resolutely quit the service. And when I was lying there on the floor, unable to stand up with dignity, my first thought was actually: “Finally! Finally it is over! ”And in the background there was even a whisper like:“ Thank God ”. Because not only that my tendons have been groaning and moaning for three quarters of a year, the whole frenetic rhythm into which my life was turned cried out for redemption. With that moment, when I was lying helplessly on the ground, the spell was broken, now I would get out of the hamster wheel and could finally catch my breath.

Not everyone may be so grateful when the body shows them the red card. And yet the question of where the real error lies in such a case goes far beyond my person. In such a case, is it the body that fails or is it the handling of the body that needs correction? After all, a ridge beam (like an Achilles tendon!) Is actually a very robust and resilient structure. Quite a lot has to happen to make him so ailing, it has a history! Shouldn't we better understand the breakdown of the bar, the accident or functional failure as a warning shot that draws our attention to irresponsible mismanagement?

Unfortunately, it is not the case that enlightenment flies towards you with the black belt. Even higher Dan carriers have no reliable wisdom to work in partnership with their bodies, rather than using it as a compliant thing. And so, after a long-haul flight, they go overnight and deranged in an exam and ... break their arms. Or they want to punch two thick Ytong plates at once with their fingertips, and ... break their hands. Or they want to prove the steel stubbornness of their will and ... slap their hand into a bloody lump, or, or, or ...

Neither taekwondo, nor any other traditional martial arts, nor hapkido is particularly prone to injury. No, the risk is not WHAT we do, it is HOW we do it!

So why do we often treat ourselves so ruthlessly?
28 1
The barcode of the hexagram leads us on the track of an explanation: While there are four heavy, convincing Yang lines in the middle that require total commitment, there is only one weak, labile Yin line at the outer ends, which to provide the required high performance. Nothing more is available than “external representation”. Transferred to our body-mind unity, it means that the energy reserves are exhausted (Yin on the bottom line), you are actually listless, exhausted, in need of recovery. At the same time, the upper room (Yin on the top line) is so crammed with beliefs and great ambitions that you don't want to accept such a weakness. And then the inner struggle begins: “Don't act like that! You can't just go limp now. You have to go through that. Nothing is impossible ... "

Sometimes it is our own ambition that drives us against any good feeling, but sometimes the feeling that we cannot afford weakness. "Taekwondo knows no pain!" Was the motto in our school in the past, and: "Taekwondo must!" - all in the broken German of our admired role models. Anyone who decided to take care of themselves was in the pillory as an embarrassing sissy. To speak to my hero Kungfu Panda again, we were more likely to be on the trip of the driving young master Shifu at the time, while the calmness of old master Oogway was still a book with seven seals. We were doing and doing and had no idea of the wisdom of letting go, of Taoist non-doing. We stuck to the simple mottos of teachers who hardly knew us and did not yet understand that our body is the best teacher: friend and personal coach in one.

After my Achilles tendon rupture, it took a long time before I returned to training. Unfortunately, I still hadn't grasped the first crack and had to tear my tendon a second time as soon as the plaster was off ... But then I really had a lot of time to rethink, it was a whole three years. And what did I learn from it?

Well, today I keep remembering another famous bear wisdom, which I think always brings us further than dogged ambition:

"Try it with coziness!"

28 Immortals1
below: Han Xiangzi plays the jade flute in a storm of emotions and blows " wind " through the old wood
Above: Ly Dongbin communicates like the reflecting " lake " when there is no wind - " His magic sword reflects a determined spirit!"