Hi, and welcome back to Second Chance to Live. I am happy you decided to stop by and visit with me. You are always welcome at my table. Through my martial arts training I am learning various principles that have direct applications to living my life as a traumatic brain injury survivor. My balance has been impacted by the injury to my brain. Consequently, I work on strengthening my legs and improving my balance.
Nevertheless, I may never be able to effectively execute certain types of kicks. As a short stocky man my arms and legs are shorter than many of the other students who train at the martial school. Having shorter arms and legs, in addition to having balance issues puts me at a disadvantage. But, that does not have to slow me down. Rather than being discouraged about what I can not do, I focus on what I can accomplish given my stature and limitations.
Several months ago I asked my Sensei how I could best spar and grapple people who are taller and heavier than I am during class. He told me that I would learn through the experience of grappling taller and heavier people. My Sensei stated a very simple, but profound truth, “What may work for me, may not work for you.” Although I heard what he was saying, I still wanted him to give me clarity. He again stated that I would have to learn through my experience. As I have continued to free grapple (using technique and strength) I have learned how to use my stature and balance to work for me when working with taller and heavier opponents. I am definitely still learning, however I have made significant gains because I have learned to use what I have been given.
As an individual living with an invisible disability I have had to learn to accept my limitations instead of fighting against them.
Through accepting my limitations, I have learned how to use those limitations to improve upon the skills I have been given. I can not change the fact that I am short and stocky fellow, but I can determine to use those characteristics. Although I can work on improving my balance, I may never be able to maintain my balance for long periods of time. Through being a traumatic brain injury survivor I have been presented with a set of circumstances that I am unable to change. Nevertheless, I can learn how to use those circumstances and make them work for me. I can grow beyond those circumstances through learning how to use my limitations to succeed beyond what may appear to be taller and larger than I am in life today.
You may also be a traumatic brain injury survivor, who has been presented with physical, mental and emotional challenges. You may feel like a short stocky person who has limited balance and ability. You may have come up against taller, stronger and heavier opponents or obstacles in your life. Consequently, you may feel overwhelmed and discouraged because you believe those obstacles can not be overcome. When I first started grappling and sparring taller, stronger and heavier people I had a hard time believing that I could succeed given my stature and balance. Through my experience I found that my ability improved over time through my willingness to not give up on my learning process.
As my Sensei shared with me, “What works best for me may not work best for you”, I will share with you. What works best for me may not work best for you given your specific type of brain injury and disability. Nevertheless, what I do know is that as we are willing to learn from our experience, we will find out what works best for us. Because you and I were created to be empowered beings, not limited doings we can excel in spite of our limitations. Our limitations and challenges no longer have to dictate to us. Instead you and I can determine to explore and find what works best for us regardless of our traumatic brain injury, limitations or deficits. With determination and tenacity we can learn how to use what we have been given in ways that work for us. In the process we can live the life we have imagined.
“If you advance confidently in the direction or your dreams and endeavor to live the life that you have imagined…you will meet with success unexpected in common hours.” Henry David Thoreau
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