Life moves in a forward line. As time marches on, we must move with it; there is no going back from where we are, and when the path forward runs us into difficult situations, the only way out of them is to go through them. This is when we need nintai - perseverance.
Perseverance is a seed planted deep in the spirit that grows in us during times of difficulty, making us stand to face the adversities that life throws at us, again and again no matter how many times we are made to fight. Allowed to grow unencumbered, it becomes the driving force that enables us to achieve our objectives. To persevere is to continue in the face of hardship. It is what we do when we want to give up but can’t let ourselves, and when we feel we do not have the ability to deal with something, but
what we really do not have is the choice whether to deal with it or not. It is what shows us how capable we can be when we must so that we eventually learn to accept that degree of capability as our default.
To persevere is to continuously revise the qualities that define us and to redraw the limits that contain us. It is to consistently renew our faith in ourselves, to give ourselves another chance to reach a goal, to do better or to be better. It is a way of saying we will not be defeated by circumstance and that we believe in our worth. It is to accept the challenges life brings us and to say that even when we are hurt or when we are set back, we will continue to move forward, stumbling or not. It is to remain focused and embrace new beginnings, and at times when we can’t simply start over again, it is to embrace the
opportunities that make the path we are on a little easier to travel, getting us closer to the point when it will swerve to a better place.
In training, perseverance means putting in the work that lays the foundation for success. It entails showing up consistently to prove our characters again and again with each new challenge we face so that every milestone we strive toward gets a little closer within reach. To persevere is to acknowledge that pain is part of progress and that the more we learn to take, the stronger we get in the process. Nintai is the tool that allows us to continue improving even when we do not see results manifesting from our efforts. It is the patience required of us to accurately grasp new concepts and effectively perform new techniques. We must learn to give this the time it needs rather than trying in vain to rush.
In exemplifying nintai, we reaffirm our values, and we set an example for others to recognize their own.
It can be easy to overlook the challenges we have risen to meet when we are feeling stuck and when the next challenge seems insurmountable. At times like this, perseverance is the habitual practice we have cultivated over time that keeps us on the right path. Routine takes over to sustain us when we feel we do not have the strength of spirit. During these times, we must remind ourselves that every day we wake up and we are still here to try again, it is a victory. We have persevered and we can continue to do
so until the seed inside bears fruit again. What is most important is that we never stray from the path. Life is a marathon; it requires stamina, mental fortitude and the ability to push ourselves forward when every part of us is screaming that it can’t go on. Life does not afford us the option of stopping, so we soldier on despite the strain. If we trust in nintai, we can cross the finish line with our heads high.
By Koroku Bujinkan