This is a miscellaneous entry.
Speaking of breaking things, I don't mean body parts...so don't worry! I'm talking about board-breaking. I broke my first board on Saturday at a demo. It was really exciting and it didn't hurt at all. I thought that it might, especially if I were to find out that I couldn't break it and instead ended up breaking my hand. With correctly applied force, however, I found that board breaking is (so far) not very difficult to do and is immensely satisfying and fun!
But since it was my first board-break ever, I had a moment of serious doubt about halfway through my palm-heel. There was a split second where I wondered whether my hand would go all the way through the board. I was already moving, though, so I couldn't really stop my momentum...which is a good thing because despite my short-lived doubt, my palm-heel went right through with no trouble. That moment of fear, though, was something else. I was already committed, so I knew that I wouldn't be able to stop myself before either the board broke or my hand did. And even though it was my own hand, I felt a little bit out of control, just for a second. It was kind of scary.
The reason I bring up this second of doubt is because I've been having a lot of those moments in my life, lately: just little split seconds of wondering, "Oh man...can I really do this?" and "will things really work out?". I think it's pretty normal to feel scared and doubtful in situations where you feel out of control. But being committed to pushing my hand all the way through the wood to the other side is what gave me the ability to break it. Had I stopped myself, even if I could have, I might have been injured anyway and I certainly wouldn't have been able to break the board. It's committing and pushing all the way through; seeing an idea or a situation through to completion with all your heart and strength that ultimately gets you to the goal.
And sometimes that requires a split second conquest of fear, as well.
Sometimes that requires the courage to take a risk...or a step in a new direction. Before I broke my board, Sensei told me to breathe, relax, take my time, and exhale on contact. Despite Sensei's great instructions, getting ready to hit the board was scary all the way up to the second before my hand actually made contact with the wood. Breaking the board, however, was easy. Committing was the hard part.
Courage is difficult sometimes, but when you commit; when you find it within yourself to do something even though it scares you, you'll find that your hand is that much more likely to break the board.