|title||"Eliminate Mental Barriers by Overcoming Physical Barriers through Parkour"|
|body||"**Becoming a Professional Soccer Player…or Not**|
You know I had big dreams to become a professional soccer player. It sounds funny and sweet to me now as an adult because I had these dreams as a young boy and teenager from a small town on the tiny Big Island of Hawaii. Anyhow, soccer was on my mind all the time and all I did year round was play soccer. Heck, I was even chosen to play on special select teams, which helped to fuel my self-perceived awesomeness.
You may find this surprising, but I was unaware that I was overweight in late elementary school and junior high school. I played sports, did well, and never thought I had any problems physically until I had that crushing cartilage tear in my knee at the age of 12. That injury hit me like a meteoroid and messed me up big time physically and psychologically. My sense of invulnerability becoming a casualty of the impact.
Equally bad. People in my social circle would tease me daily that my weight was the reason I was injured. The impact of the injury and the full leg cast plus the shock of the lack of support from friends was like being farted on and kicked in the balls simultaneously. You don’t know which one to respond to and it confuses and freaks out your brain because it can’t process the situation.
Despite the little remaining glitter of hope, I stopped playing soccer until the age of 14 and unfortunately had a muscle injury soon after returning that made me stop playing again. The fear of tearing my cartilage was branded deep into my soul. Through the encouragement of friends, I returned to the pitch at 16 and had one decent year of soccer and one great year of not getting injured. However, muscle pains affected me my senior year and I played goal keeper to stay in the game while not having the mobility to run on the field.
My dream of becoming a professional soccer player did not happen.
**Fear of Injury and Getting Injured**
There is a purpose to this story and a happy ending, so stick with me.
My negative injury cycle continued to spin with high winds both during and after University. It is hard to avoid testosterone, male insecurity, and sports living in a all-male University dorm and turning down offers to play sports made my peers question my manliness. Being the people pleaser that I was, I would consistently cave in to their requests and get injured while playing sports again.
I was terribly afraid of getting re-injured and I did not enjoy sports and physical activities as much as I used to. I would dread every time the opportunity to do a physical act came up because I had a strong identity as someone with physical talents but had a leg that did not operate how my mind thought it should. This was a really tough time for me because I proved my value as man to woman through physical prowess and I felt powerless. No more compliments and smiles from women. I deeply missed the sense of invulnerability and being a free spirit out in the world. It was also probably the root cause of me slipping into video game addiction.
Observing myself through my 3rd person glasses, I assume the fear of getting injured probably was the cause of me getting re-injured. The tightness from the stress combined with knowing absolutely nothing about stretching properly made me vulnerable to injury. This fear created mental barriers that prevented me from seeing other options.
**Creating Mental Barriers through Victimhood**
I really thought something beyond my control was going on. Some sort of mystical being who was offended with my existence. Maybe someone messing with some kind of voodoo doll or revenge from my dead cousin for calling him an idiot for the way he died. Whatever the source, my destiny was to remain an injured and hopeless person.
My victim mentally created mental barriers in my life. My self-created barriers kept me enclosed and prevented me from exploring the areas outside their barrier. The most obvious one would be to seek treatment for knee and figure out why the hell I was constantly getting re-injured. I really had no hope for the future and thought it would be futile to seek help because I was cursed. I was destined to be trapped within in this paradigm of being a victim as a result of things I could not control. I was the poor victim and the safest thing would be to remain within this small, lonely, but seemingly safe barrier.
I created my own mental barriers and trapped myself inside. I also think many of us create barriers that are not serving us in the long-term like my fear of being destined to be injured. The most obvious mental barriers are phobias, an extreme or irrational fear of something. These mental barriers often completely paralyzes the person to the target of the phobia. Minor examples of barriers are complaining, seeing other people as the source of your problems, and always seeing yourself as the victim.
These barriers keep us in a tiny world and keep us blinded to the world of opportunities. This false sense of safety deprived me of a premium chance to see what is out there.
**Mental and Physical Barriers that We All Create**
I walk to work through the same road and path each day. There are no wild or interesting digressions from my normal route, only a straight path from my home to the train station Japan. I may have my routine path briefly interrupted by construction that causes me to walk around but nothing exciting there. Seeing construction is just as routine as following the path laid out in front me.
I have recently begun to learn the basics of parkour to develop a well-rounded level of muscle strength and fitness. I am not doing anything crazy and cool like the video below, but I am learning the basics of walking on my hands and legs, developing muscle strength to climb and hang on low walls and jumping over railings instead of walking around them. My logic is that I am in my 30s who is planning to get married and am trying to find the medium between being a free spirit but not doing anything high risk that could destroy me. I do not need to prove anything to the world and it is an internal challenge I want to face. My competition is with my fears and not with outdoing other people. I have seen people create their own mental barriers through unhealthy competition and my priority is safety.
[Video Compilation of Some Masters in Action!](https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=NX7QNWEGcNI)
Parkour has a very simple but elegant premise.
The basic premise of parkour is to find the shortest route from point A to point B. In awesome cases this involves jumping from building to building or climbing on top a building and jumping down on the other side instead of walking around. In normal everyday Bob Smith world involves jumping over a railing instead of walking around it.
Parkour changes your mindset and makes you view your world differently. Thanks to parkour, I have begun to search for short cuts you can take from point A to B. It opened up new physical possibilities for me because you learn how to physically overcome barriers that you may have once ignored because you unconsciously viewed them as impassable.
**Creating New Opportunities and Confidence**
Doing parkour has made me realize how I limited my options with something as simple as going to work through my mental barriers. I think the same also applies to how you view life. If you view many things as barriers, your options for moving forward will decrease and it will take you longer to reach your destination because you will have to walk around the building. By climbing over former barriers, you can realize new opportunities you were unable to see from your low vantage point.
You also build confidence through seeing yourself overcome parkour challenges you once thought were difficult. Then you seek new opportunities for growth and development. You continually see new areas for improvement and how to improve what you are already able to do. You also realize how most people limit themselves through self-imposed barriers.
By eliminating physical barriers through the art of parkour, you develop the mindset to face barriers in other realms of your mind.
**The More Challenges You Overcome, the More Likely You Know Your Limits**
The more parkour and fitness you do, the more your body and mind adjusts through the development of physical strength and fine-tuned awareness about what you are capable and incapable off. You will also develop a better awareness of your real physical limitations as opposed to imaginary limitations. The reason for this is because you would have tested many things out and can make judgments on your limitations or risks based on actual experiments and not biases.
This mentality also applies to business, dating, and anything where failure is possible. The more challenges you overcome, the more clear you will be with your limits. For me, overcoming the mental barriers of cold resistance training has led to an increased confidence in tackling subjects I have previously given up on and more difficult projects.
Please note that I am not talking about jumping from buildings and doing 8 foot or higher jumps. Knowing your level of risk is a key component of protecting yourself from injury. I do not want to risk major injury and force my wife to take care of me. People at the peak of physical performance are pushing the barriers and be careful when trying to follow them."