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Steel tests steel

Training today with Mat Stratta of Endurance Training Center Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu we talked about a challenging training environment.  The idiom that “steel sharpens steel” is often used to describe training hard or with people that push us.  While I appreciate being compared to an amalgam known for its durability and ability to keep an edge, the idiom is historically inaccurate and more importantly perhaps not the best way to view training.

When steel hits steel, it was in battle, blades were notched, bent, and blunted not sharpened.  Blades that were true served their masters without breaking but certainly they lost some of their edge.  Competition tests but it also injures, if you are always competing you’ll be tried but you’re unlikely to improve.

Steel is sharpened on stones, either a whetstone or grindstone, whose friction was carefully applied to sharpen and straighten.  The battle tested the mettle, the sharpening was a careful and skillful assessment of weakness and dullness that was then meticulously ground out.  When we train we refine, we sharpen, our coaches and training partners are our grindstone, they smooth our imperfections and sharpen our edge.

Steel tests us.  Stone sharpens us.

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