There are two types of limitations on your personal development curve, self-selected and imposed. You can do so much about the former with the right training, support, and mentors. Find those things and the imposed limitations matter less and less as the self-selected ones fall away.
I will be giving out black belts to all my new students starting soon. It will be easier that way, seeing as how everyone thinks they know everything before they know anything. My advanced students will test for white belts when they don't know enough to demonstrate that they at least know what they don't know. Beware the white belts in my club. #flipthescript#martialartsfails #emptyyourcup #martialhacks
There is a fine line between the two. That line is "preparation." If you do the prep, you will reap the rewards. One of those rewards is minimizing anxiety in your life. Nothing works better.
What you make matters. Everything counts. The incremental improvements, the monumental setbacks; it is all part of the sum. Without the failures, the successes matter less. Without the struggle, the story feels unfinished. Without the deeds, won or lost, the narrative remains unfulfilled. The glory? It is fleeting. The sorrow? It passes. But keep making. Growth is in the making. Memories, bonds, opportunities--what you make matters.
Do you like paradoxes? Here's one:
You can never be "early" for training, only late.
You are either in the gym working out or you are trying to get there. If you get to the gym and stand around waiting for class to start, you are wasting time that could be put to much better use. There is no such thing as "downtime" in a gym; there is only ready or not ready and that's it.
Mobility? Extra warming up? Shadow and solo drills? The prehab you constantly neglect? Some goddamn push-ups? Maybe there is someone else standing around thinking they are "early"; grab them and get going on something.
Do not be the student who shows up 25 minutes before class, then start cold like the last person in the door does. What was the point to being in the gym if you watched the minutes tick by one by one and did nothing with them? Be your own coach, get started, and benefit from the gift of time before the class even begins.
So next time you walk into the gym a half hour before class starts, you are not early.
You are ready.
Mindset is to combatives what The Secret is to finding health, love and happiness. Well trained but frightened betas will beat poorly trained unafraid alphas all day every day. Trained responses, not wishful thinking; skills, not wishes; proving grounds, not wishing wells.
Find the truth. Get real. Live authentically.
Did a boxing/striking seminar on Saturday. Presented on hooks. Just hooks. Doesn't seem like you could do an entire seminar on one punch, but you realize quickly that people get trapped in feedback loops.
They learn a technique, practice a technique, apply a technique, then return to an endless series of "practice" and "apply" thinking that's how one gets good at martial arts. I am not so sure that is the case.
What I realized from the seminar was that my job is to break the loop for martial artists, not just present techniques, because amazing things happen when they get outside of it. I have gratitude today for what I learned while I was teaching.
1. Double Jab
"One good jab thrown twice in a row does not a double jab make. There is a distinct difference between getting hit with two jabs and getting tagged by a double jab. You know it when it happens."
"Lots of power in this combo. LOTS. You can change a person's whole day with this one. Requires excellent body mechanics to pull off smoothly, though, or it will be badly telegraphed and catch nothing but air."
"Offensively tricky. Most fighters are expecting the third punch to be a hook and might find themselves anticipating it - even the experienced ones who should know better. When they split their guard to cover for it, the second cross finds a home."
"Similar to number two on this list in that it has tremendous power, but it is not as defensively sound as far as I am concerned. Lead uppercuts are notoriously difficult to pull off, but when it happens they can be devastatingly effective. The nice thing about this combination is that the uppercut puts the chin up and that gives the hook some options, like catching the outside of the jaw...though I prefer trying to tag the temple or behind the ear with it, turning the knuckles over as I throw. That's just me, though; your mileage may vary."
"I am not a 'big' combination lover, as in I believe that there is definitely a point of diminishing returns the more punches you throw. The body just has a limit as to how effectively it can generate speed, power and accuracy over longer combinations, not to mention technical breakdowns that begin to occur. That said, if you manage to rattle off the first four, go for the hook; putting someone on his or her heels with four straights just makes that hook all the more promising. But beware the counter, because it is coming..."
6. Jab/Cross/Jab/Cross/Body Hook
"All of number five, but LIVER. Serve this one with some fava beans and a nice Chianti. Old joke is old, I know..."
7. Cross/Body Hook
"A lost art, mostly because fighters fear the counter. But oh what a game changer this can be, especially if you catch the person overprotecting their head and not keeping their body tight. Slamming away on someone's guard has its place, but there is magic to be found just a few inches lower."
"This requires an 'educated" lead hand. You are not going to pull this off without some level of speed on the lead. The jab needs to be snappy so that the same-side hook can come back around the parry or the guard, depending on your opponent's reaction. The cross at the end is as much to keep him or her on the defensive as it is to attempt a finish. Just remember, those first two punches? The counter to them is a straight right and if you're sloppy or slow, you are going to get hurt."
9. Body Cross/Hook
"That lead cross can mess a person up; it immediately puts him or her on the defensive and can sometimes move them backward. If they 'turtle' or 'stonewall' you, the hook can find space around that, but if they move back a step or two as well? So much power follows. Think of Mike Tyson's leaping left hook - that's what you get with this. It's also one of the few times you can commit everything to that first punch without destroying your chances of an effective follow up; the body mechanics are so natural with this one that it forgives overcommitment."
10. Body Jab
"No, it doesn't do a lot of damage...but it sure messes with a person. When you land this, the other person always looks confused, like when someone stumbles then looks down to see what tripped up his or her feet...and gets that perplexed "did that just happen" face when they don't see anything. I love that face during sparring."
Those are our favorites. What are yours?
If you can't get through a staredown or a weigh-in without causing a scene, you really need to have your coach reign you in ahead of time. There's nothing cool about it, nor does it influence the outcome of a fight...and even if it does, is that really how you want to win? Cheap theatrics and histrionics?
I was able to smile and enjoy both the weigh-in and the staredown because I didn't need to peacock to make myself feel better or act all aggro to cope with my nerves. Hell, I even wished my opponent good luck and you know what? He reciprocated. I respected him immensely for that. Neither of us threw a shoe.
So if you can't stand across from your opponent, look them in the eyes and control your emotions, you're missing a big part of the equation of what it means to be a professional athlete and most certainly the "artist" part of martial arts training.
Be better than that.
Unless you're a Diaz. If you are, keep it up--none of what I wrote applies to you.
Competing in martial arts isn't difficult, but it is challenging. Your self worth, identity, and belief systems can be tested more than expected, and certainly more than the physical element that 98% of your training takes up during preparation. But competing opens up your world in a way that training can't; there's a value in the testing that can't be found anywhere else. Be brave. It's worth it. #untappedtruth
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