Perseverance has long been taught to me through the practice of martial arts. It is defined as: the steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success. Martial arts teaches me perseverance though exercise and constant drilling of technique. Perseverance is practiced in the martial arts because the journey never ends. A true martial artist must sharpen his skill everyday, for there is no special day when you reach a level that no longer requires you practice. The same goes for life. Life never stops. Life will always test you, for change never ceases. New challenges will arise like the tide, and you must be strong and persevere to not be swept under the waves.
The Zen principal of mujo (impermanence) teaches us that throughout change (mujo), there is only progression or regression. All is subject to mujo, nothing stands still. All is in motion so ask yourself, are you moving toward growth or decay? This is why perseverance is key. Perseverance is needed to polarize to progress, to ensure spiritual growth.
At the White Tiger Ryu we have an exercise named the Iron Cross. Practitioners spread their legs wide and bend the knees into a deep horse stance. The back is straight and the arms come up at the sides, parallel to the ground. This stance is held for several minutes, increasing in length as the student progresses. This exercise strengthens the body, but is mostly used as an exercise for the mind and spirit. The Iron Cross is an exercise used to build your perseverance. It teaches you to endure and be resolute through the pain and difficulty. In fact, the kanji for “ninja” (shinobi) can be interpreted as “to endure and bear” or ” to persevere”. My connection to ninpo and how it has impacted my life is a large reason why I have chosen perseverance as one of my virtues.
To have anything one desires in life, one must persevere. The universe does not give that which is not deserved. Expect to be challenged for the things you want, and do not deterred by initial failure. You will continue to fail until you are worthy of your desire, so you must persevere through failure and work until you have it. Like the river that forges a canyon, you must be the water that wears down the rock. The canyon is not made overnight, the water’s work took years, but it eventually it finds its way. Perseverance conquers all. Perseverance is the ultimate cheat code. By persevering, you are rigging the game. How? By continuing to play the game until you win. There is no losing with perseverance, there is only learning and continuous hard work until the goal is accomplished. In fact, the game of life is already rigged in your favor; the universe is designed to help you win. You must be strong enough to rise above life’s tide. Attract what you desire, work to deserve it, and the universe shall give it to you. Nothing can stop one who perseveres, and that is why I have chosen perseverance as one of my virtues.