They Don’t Understand

With blood streaming from his nose, I watched the student struggle back to his feet.

He stumbled, fighting to remain vertical. Fatigued and cramped muscles had mercilessly seized his legs. His forehead was purple and knotted. Blood seeped from a gash on his left cheek. His clothes were unrecognizable from the spattered mud, blood, and grass stains. He trembled as muscle spasms in his hands forced his fingers to curl. Tears ran from his swollen eyes. Every ounce of his being wanted to fall down and give in to the deafening screams from his body demanding him to stop this brutal nonsense.

But he wouldn’t do it.

He was a warrior. Only unconsciousness or death would stop him.

Unable to speak from dehydration, he nodded and lifted his arms, signaling that he was ready to go another round.

I’ve witnessed this incredible determination from both mine, and from my kung fu brothers’ students in every black level test. As always, I’m the one who walks away changed.

How many times I’ve wanted to quit in so many endeavors, to walk away and just forget it. Life’s too hard.

Your girlfriend breaks-up, you lose a loved-one, go through a divorce, a job termination, a final exam, the two-hundredth rejection letter from a publisher, another denial letter from medical school, a frightening diagnosis. Why go on? It’s easier to quit.

But see, when you’re a warrior it’s different. You can’t quit. The crazy thing is, you’re unable to even explain why. There’s a passion inside of you burning so strong that you simply cannot ignore its heat.

That’s why Rocky will forever live as THE underdog/never-give-up-movie. Through Balboa’s character, Stallone brilliantly portrayed the heart of a warrior. The odds stood against him a million-to-one. For a while, neither Adrian nor Mick his trainer, believed he could defeat the champion Apollo.  Rocky was alone. But he understood that being a warrior often meant standing alone. Standing alone and believing in yourself when everyone around you says you’re crazy, even when LOGIC says you’re crazy. That’s the heart of a warrior.

That’s the heart of my students when their family and friends ask why they choose to do push their body through a grueling six hour test to be beat on, criticized (constructively, of course), assaulted with a deadly weapon, and then have to run five to ten miles while often puking along the way.

Why do soldiers do what they do? Police officers, firefighters, EMT’s, why?

No answer makes sense to the non-warrior. It’s impossible for them to understand. They simply do not have the warrior mindset.

There’s a great scene in the movie Black Hawk Down.

 Returning from battle, an exhausted, famished, and wounded Delta Force commando brushes past medical personnel, grabs a plate of food, and stops in front of a table piled with weapons and ammunition.

While wolfing down his chow, he turns to a Ranger and says, “Whenever I go home, people ask me, ‘Why do you do it, man? Why? Are you some kind of war-junkie?’ I won’t say a thing. Why? They won’t understand. They won’t understand why we do it.”

Anything in your life you want to give up on, walk away from? Wait. Search out your warrior heart. Don’t give up. No, others won’t understand. That’s the beauty of being a warrior. You’re scared yet press on. Don’t give up.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and discipline.

2 Timothy 1:7




18 Replies to “They Don’t Understand”

  1. Very powerful blog! Even a heart of a non-warrior feels like turning into the heart of a warrior! Bravo, Sifu!

  2. Truly inspiring sifu. This says alot about my life and the things that have happened to me. Have I given up yet? I don’t know how.

  3. Sifu, that was DEEP & couldnt be more true for me as a warrior. I MUST KEEP the WARRIOR within to keep me pushin’ it forward I LOVE everything u write/blog ! Thanks so much for sharing, because……;

    ” THEY WILL NEVER UNDERSTAND” Non Warriors CANT understand 🙂 !!!

    WARRIOR 4/EVER/Right here 😉

  4. This is what bonds us as a Kung Fu family. My KF Brothers (and sisters) understand this thing that is in me that CAN NOT quit, because it is in them as well. And we see it in our KF Father (Sifu) and our Uncles (Other Sifu’s). It has lived in me from birth, but it was encouraged and refined at TKFF like no other place I have ever been. I am blessed in so many ways in my life, and one of the top ones is finding my home and family and TKFF.

    Thank you Sifu for giving us this warrior sanctuary and leading by example in all that you do!

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