what doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger

What Nietzsche says was right, “what doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger”.

Today, I didn’t go to my dojo. Instead, I stayed home running on our treadmill then stretched a bit. Without knowing, I was struck by a ‘friendly reminder’ in my mind while doing a copra pose that, even if my fitness training was leveled up, I would never be enough.

Having grown up overweight then obese, I’m sensitive to how people would judge my appearance. Because isn’t fat always an issue? I still remember one day in our high school’s dance class, the instructor left me embarrassed and, desolated, taking my partner’s hand to a new classmate. Granted, I understood he wanted to form a new group of a boy and and girl (my then dance partner was also a girl). But why didn’t he ask for our opinions? Why wasn’t I chosen? Was I oversensitive? I didn’t know. Am I oversensitive? I really still don’t know even though I have told myself to shrug the past off. Move on.

Funny, the past always finds its path to return and become unapologetically present. Since I started college and especially since I discovered my love for martial arts, I have been training very diligently. I can tell you I have a daily average of one to two hours working out (for sure, during my special days of the month, I’m less eager to do literally anything) in addition to my above-average physically active routine. While I was at a hospital for a health check recently, guess what? Without inquiring me, even the doctor went ahead to note that I don’t exercise?

A proud me could tell her that I can run very fast, I have good stamina, I’m more flexible than most people I’ve known, I always find time to follow my aspiration to become a martial artist and I think I’m doing well. But I’m still confused thinking of that moment, and every other moment when someone assumes I’m a couch potato and tries to persuade me to exercise more. Isn’t it funny that it hurts?

However, it’s also a good mental exercise for me – I know that I’m heavier than my weight. I have to be heavier than my weight. Simply because I’m much more than it.

Have you ever thought of the idea about being destroyed in order to become larger? It’s similar to what Nietzsche says as well as the Hegelian term aufgehoben, which means to abolish something while at the same time raising it to a higher level. I think about it every time after my taijiquan time at a park, feeling the air, the energy, the people around me. I also think about it every time after I’m an uke following both my tori and myself or a tori leading both my uke and myself.

I’ve started to understand that being a martial artist is not only about practicing diligently inside a training hall but also with how one lives her life. I’m still at the stage where lots of things affect, and upset, me. So, now I’m figuring out how I can cultivate my inner strength, my mind, my spirit to let them go after transforming them into positive energy.


This journey is long and enduring. But it’s not impossible. Even though the past is always present, every past projects a new trajectory. So, dear me, let the past go… when it comes back welcome it, befriend with it, and when the time is right, let it go…


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