top of page
  • Writer's pictureJackie Bradbury

Pain and Joy

I was at a martial arts seminar and I was practicing a take down with a lock with a new friend.

I was in the uke position.  As my friend performed the technique (which he had been doing adequately up to that point), an instructor came over to correct him, and to show him how to make the technique better.

Better, meaning, "much more painful".

As he put me in the lock, which hurt (A LOT), I yelped and laughed.

I laughed.

This is actually not uncommon in my experience.  When something painful happens, we might scream or yell, but really, we laugh and grin.

I can't explain why this is.  It does hurt.  It really does.  There doesn't seem to be any reason for laughing, but we do.

And then the next reaction is, "That was cool!  Do it again!", usually said with a big smile.

Mr. Chick experiencing a lot of pain and having a lot of fun.

Now, I do not mean the same thing as injury.  Injury takes you out of being able to train, which is not our goal.  Nobody laughs or smiles or experiences joy at injury - your own, or when you injure somebody else (which is way, way worse than getting injured yourself).

Nope, when it hurts, just hurts (and hurts a lot, even)... we laugh.

I don't know what is wrong with us martial artists, I really don't.  It's not sane.

This is, perhaps, the main reason why people who do the martial arts consist of such a small percentage of the overall population.  All martial arts training involves risk, and we all experience pain in our training, due to a lock, or a throw, or a kick or strike taken while sparring, or due to somebody learning how to use a weapon and accidentally hits us in the wrong place...

Most normal people avoid pain.  We martial artists seek it out, not for the pain itself, but for the technique associated to it.  Feeling pain is part of the way we measure the effectiveness of what we do.

As I've heard my Small Circle Jujitsu friends say, "Pain makes believers".

The other factor is pride - we are proud of ourselves for being able to take pain, aren't we?

We actually captured a moment that is one of Mr. Chick's favorite training stories.

It's a measure of our toughness, for one - we all like to believe that we can take what we dish out. It's also a pretty empowering experience when we feel pain but don't allow it to prevent us from doing what we do.

That's a great feeling, even if it temporarily hurts a little.

It's hard to explain to non-martial artists - the joy we feel when we experience pain in the martial arts. But I know I feel it, and I bet you do, too.

So what do you think?  Why do you think we have this (admittedly weird) joyful reaction when we experience pain while training?  What stories do you do have about the joy of pain?  Share with us!

33 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page