WHAT IS FOLDING METAL?
Folding metal is a process in metal smithing used to strengthen the medium chosen.
When a blade smith chooses a high carbon steel for their blade, often times it comes from a billet, or a piece of steel from several other pieces welded or heat treated together with a cleansing/bonding agent. Similarly, Damascus steel, is steel that is hammered thin, then flux is added and the steel is folded. Flux is a cleaning agent that purifies the metal so it bonds easily together when it is folded. This type of folding can be done hundreds of times, strengthening the steel every time. But after each fold, the metal must be hammered thin again in order to be folded.
I use this metaphor often in my training, but it can be applied to life as well. It goes back to the philosophy of breaking you down to build you back up, or what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. What I prefer about the metallurgy reference is that the steel was already strong to begin with, just as we as individuals are strong. You may not believe that to be true at times. Especially in times of loss, struggle, heartbreak, or anger. These are the times when character is built. Provided you learn from these events (and I mean you retain some knowledge and memory of the experience so you are less doomed to repeat it), you are made smarter, faster, stronger and therefore better by it.
In training, there are workouts that should challenge you (not every single one or else you need to fire your coach or hire one because you’re doing it wrong) both physically and mentally. You need recovery workouts or lighter days to maintain what you’ve built and encourage muscle memory, but there should be at least a couple in there that you read and think, “Whoa. I don’t know about that.” That’s where progress is made. That’s where the money is. That’s where you dig deep and find what you’re made of. And maybe It’s not the workout but the conditions. You don’t want to, you’re tired, you’re not in the mood, or environmental conditions suck- it’s too hot, too cold, too humid, or the gym is too packed and that meathead windowlicker you can’t stand is there magically occupying 4 benches at once (how is that possible?). You push past these doubts, these fears, these obstacles and finish strong, persevere, and slaughter that workout. Then you feel amazing! You cheat no one but yourself when you give in to the “don’t wanna” and the “can’t”. That’s the #1 person you should be the most upset about disappointing. That’s the fold in the metal. That’s finding that even the reserve tanks go deeper than you thought. You had to be weakened just for a second, before you could be folded and made stronger. Prove to yourself you can do it, for that satisfaction alone. See everyone else is so into their own shit that no one cares about yours. But you….you should care. This is your life, your body, your dreams and goals. Fold the steel. Fold it again. A hundred times. A thousand!
Get stronger. Get better. Be harder to kill.