You sound pretty tough to me! I'm not sure I could survive your gardening. And, while I too hope for response from the distaff side of this forum, your post hits upon a topic many of us skirt around in Uechi, do we all need to be able to break with our toes, kick through a bat with our shins, be hit over the forearm with a board, and be kicked full force during San Chin in order to practice this style? If the answer is yes, I have been wasting my time.
Now don't get me wrong, this is a tough style, and a certain amount of toughness appears to be a prerequisite for continued practice. But as you observe, what's tough enough?
I am very lucky to train with one tough Mother (she has two children), who can arm pound, shin kick, and one knuckle punch with anyone. But, as she often observes, there are techiques in this style she would not use. Perhaps I should say, there are applications of the techniques in this style she would never use. Why, because they won't work for her. Given her size, her strength, and her own genetic gifts, she takes from this style what she finds the most effective. This approach seems to work quite well for her, and allows her to keep control of a class full of young healthy male specimens often intent on demonstrating that no woman can push them around.
For me, having the privilege of training with individuals of varying size, quickness, toughness, flexibility, aggressiveness, etc. helps to validate a fundamental premise about this art. If karate is only for the strong, the fast, the tough and the aggressive, there would be no karate. These folks generally can take care of themselves physically without much training. But for the klutzes among us (a group to which I proundly claim membership) karate holds the promise of allowing us to develop ourselves in ways we couldn't imagine when we first begin our study. And while it may make us tougher, how tough will always remain a wide variable. Personally, I think tough enough is measured over time, and if one is still practicing when the Social Security checks arrive, one is tough enough.
As I said, you sound plenty tough to me, and I will keep your post in mind the next time I am grousing about mowing my puny yard.
Robb in Sacramento