Staying the Course

As we near the end of January of 2014, many of us have had moderate or even great success in implementing our New Year’s resolutions.  The gyms are busy, co-workers and friends are watching their diets and martial arts classes are full.  For others, this is also a time when these goals and newly established routines start experiencing some difficulty.  Work schedules, family demands and even our local frigid whether all compete with our motivation and resolve.  The rigors of reintroducing exercise start wearing on the body.  The clean, modified dieting habits are threatened again, and FMA students getting back into training or starting it for the first time may find that their initial enthusiasm is challenged by the sometimes steep learning curve, or the discipline required to be consistent in class or for solo practice.  With that being said, here are a few tips I’d offer to new students and longtime training partners alike to help keep that reinvigorated fire burning.

1. Be consistent.  One of my son’s physical therapists used to tell him that it was the work that he did, on the days that he didn’t want to that would be the most important.  “Consistency trumps intensity; all the time. That intensity is born from consistency.”— Mark Reifkind, Strongfirst (taken from Tom Furman’s blog).  Get out there on those cold mornings, keep your attendance at class or stay with your home routines or diets.

2. Don’t be discouraged.  Guro Dan would frequently recall his frustration when he started learning Kali.  He was so frustrated he threw his weapons on the ground and stomped away.  He has also said that his first five years with Sifu Bruce were infuriating because he spent all of his time with his arms crossed and pinned, backpedaling and getting punched in the face.  And he would tell the new students at the Academy to not get discouraged, that for most it would take weeks or even months to start feeling comfortable with the pace and complexity of the material.


3.  Remember your motivation, and don’t lose sight.  Remind yourself that you want to feel healthier, that you want to move easier or fit into those clothes again.  Whatever the goal, maintain your intent.

4. Establish tangible, short term and long term goals.  “Losing weight” is fine, but wanting to lose 1 or 2 pounds this week, reaching a set weight by the end of the month or a projected body weight goal will take you much further.  This is partially why programs such as T25 or P90X3 are so ingenius.  They give a challenging but attainable goal and hold you accountable to them.


5.  Keep notes.  Track your progress, log your foods or write down the techniques you covered in class.  They will serve not only as evidence of progress but great references and guides for the future.  Guro Dan has logged literally every single private session he has had in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, as well as many other arts and Bruce Lee himself kept copious notes on his own training.

And just because it’s funny:

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