Have you ever done that? Or have you been on the receiving end of a stray knee to the groin while your partner is passing guard? Yeah, those suck.
We all hate it, and it’s just as bad when we are the ones who make the wandering blow. But, these things are bound to happen when action is fast and caution is slow.
Roman Emperor and essential Stoic Marcus Aurelius warned that there would be times like this.
He wrote in his personal journal, later published as Meditations, “When your sparring partner scratches or head-butts you, you don’t then make a show of it, or protest, or view him with suspicion or as plotting against you. And yet you keep an eye on him, not as an enemy or with suspicion, but with a healthy avoidance.”
If you encounter an accidental blow during training, brush it off and keep going. If it’s during a match or competition, you may have to judge the severity of the damage before deciding to stop the action.
But Aurelius reminded himself that it wasn’t just in the gym that we should brush off a stray shot.
“You should act this way with all things in life. We should give a pass to many things with our fellow trainees. For, as I’ve said, it’s possible to avoid without suspicion or hate.”
This brings to mind the famous phrase by Forrest Gump when he ran across the country and tracks through a big pile of dog droppings. A fan yells, “Whoa, man. You just ran through a big pile of dog s***.” Forrest replied, “It happens,” giving rise to the phrase, “S*** Happens.”
Suppose we go ahead and accept that an accidental blow or a jog through doo-doo will likely happen one day. In that case, we can inoculate ourselves against the emotional reaction we might experience when it happens.
In the acceptance, we “give a pass” to the event and to the others involved in it. Try taking the sting out and keep moving forward.