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Freedom Park – Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecjia Philippines

I sat down at the dining table just after an evening training session. It was Friday and the week had passed almost completely unnoticed. The moment I hit the chair David says to me “You ready?”

Any one that knows David is aware of certain spontaneity to his character, so agreeing to such a simple question is like signing a contract without reading it; basically you should be ready for anything.

“Yup” I say, casually as I look up towards him waiting for him to reveal what I had just agreed too. “Good,” he says with a soft smile “Yoga, tomorrow, 5:30, Freedom Park.” “That’s 5:30 a.m.” he adds before I respond. “Perfect” I say as I think the same; morning Yoga in the park, I could not have agreed to a better task.

 

Practicing yoga at Freedom Park Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija Philippines

Practicing yoga at Freedom Park Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija Philippines

We were a little late, which in the Philippines means we were really early. We reached the park a little after 5:30. David and his family were accompanying as well as two of our new students from the Barangay. As we pulled into the park I realized I wasn’t completely sure what we were doing there. “Yoga” can mean a lot of things. As we exited the vehicle and loud music filled the air David looked at me smiling and it was plain as day, he wasn’t completely sure either. Here we go, I thought to myself.

The park had two definite stages. At each stage sat a large group of people in front of them. They enthusiastically followed an aerobics routine that was led by a few individuals on stage. Loud music blasted from both stages in seeming competition with one another. Apparently this is what they do throughout the week here at Freedom Park.

We approached one of the stages and David’s wife, Venus, began to speak with one of the individuals in charge of the event. They spoke for a moment and before I knew it we’re moving quickly to the opposing stage. As we walk through the crowd of people I quickly catch the words “Yoga” and “Demo.”

The next thing you know I’m walking up the stairs of the stage, a crowd of people stand before me. I look back towards David, still unsure as to what I was doing. “Just do your thing, you have ten minutes.” As I reach center stage and I am introduced I quickly realize how unprepared I am. I shake out my arms and legs to loosen my nerves, close my eyes, take a deep breath, reach my hands high into the air for the first posture and lean my head back. As I slowly open my eyes I see the morning sky above me, and everything seems to fall into place.

“You train relaxed, you have to because the second you step into the ring you’re going to be tense. That’s just the way it is. So you train as relaxed as possible, so you can be as relaxed as possible in the ring. Remember you fight the way you train.”

“You train relaxed, you have to because the second you step into the ring you’re going to be tense. That’s just the way it is. So you train as relaxed as possible, so you can be as relaxed as possible in the ring. Remember you fight the way you train.” David’s words ring through my head as I move from posture to posture and the reality of the situation becomes apparent. The preparation is in the training, which has become our lives.

You breath it, you dream it, you live it every second of every day. You do this so that when the time comes there is no need to think, you just move and your body reacts to each situation as it unfolds. The crowd before me follows my every move without failure. David’s words fill the air as he speaks through the microphone offering gentle instruction for each posture.

Some individuals express their excitement as they attempt certain postures while those around them smile and laugh in acknowledgement. They are responsive, respectful, and enthusiastic and joy to teach. I bring my hands to heart center, bow my head, and exhale after my final posture. The crowd begins to applaud and as I lift my head up I smile and think “May the light that shines within you shine within me”

There is no such thing as being truly prepared, not in life or anything pertaining to it. There is always going to be a curve ball, a hurdle, or a wild rear hook coming your way. Sometimes you miss the swing, stumble over the obstacle, or are hit. Sometimes it hits you hard and it knocks you down, and sometimes you don’t want to get up.

You train daily to make sure you’re ready, not for the fight or the task but for those unexpected things life throws at you. You do what you can to make sure you have the skill to react to those unexpected things, and in the event that wild hook lands anyways; you know you have the heart to get back up and finish when it knocks you down.

Your never to old to start getting better.

Your never to old to start getting better.

“One day we’re going to be gone and there won’t be another chance, so you have to do it now.” I know that David’s passionate words not only fill my heart but those of my training partners back at OC Muay Thai. We carry them each day and live with purpose regardless of where life takes us.

Train the way you live, fight the way you train, live the way you fight.