"What does not kill him, makes him stronger." - Friedrich Nietzsche Training in the martial arts is supposed to be hard.  There are no easy roads to the top.  The experience is as only as difficult as one chooses to see it that way.  For the best result, choose to see it as something that will make you stronger.

I recently watched a video documentary about the famous judo shiai (tournament) between the legendary Yasuhiro Yamashita and Hitoshi Saito.  The tournament was Yamashita's swan song and his last competitive bout.  Prior to this match, Saito had never won against Yamashita and so he knew that this was his last chance to beat him.  In the match there was a controversial decision that did not go Saito's way and from that point Yamashita ground him down to take a yusei or judge's decision victory.  It was a crushing blow to Saito and he himself said that it is something he thinks about every day.

Three years later, Saito found himself in a rather tough bout in the gold medal match at the Seoul Olympics where, coincidentally, Yamashita was a broadcaster and sitting in the press box.  There was 20 seconds left and the match was a draw and Saito looked up into the stands and made eye contact with Yamashita and both men gave each other a nod.  In that moment, Saito realized that Yamashita had given him the fighting spirit he needed with all those losses over the years.  Saito went on to get the judge's decision and the gold medal.

There is a saying in Japanese, "An apprentice near a temple will recite the scriptures untaught" which means that the environment is where our character is created.  So what Nietzsche says can be true, but we must first see it that way.  Generally this happens in hindsight, but our experience would be that much better if we could see it in the present moment.  After all, it is our choice.

Watch the whole video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l72hMWkR500