His routine is punishing. And yet, Richard Levitt keeps it up. Just what is he getting out of this?
At home after a rough night of martial arts training, I began my pain-management ritual: a couple analgesics, ice for my lower back, and a glass of port. I laid across the couch, put my legs up on a stack of pillows, and groaned.
Karen sat down next to me. “Why do you do this to yourself?” she asked, truly concerned. She has asked this before. I started to wonder the same thing.
Throughout 40-plus-years of martial arts, I’ve been punched and kicked, thrown to the ground and pinned. I’ve pounded canvas bags and smacked a wooden dummy. My knuckles have been mashed, elbows tweaked, and shoulder dislocated. My knees worn raw, forearms struck until they were bruised from elbow to wrist.
It’s uncomfortable. And it’s humbling. Yet I persist.