Tag Archives: martial arts

So you are thinking about starting martial arts? 10 things I wish I had known earlier in my journey.

So you (or maybe your spouse) are considering studying a martial art, congratulations!!  I can honestly say that the first day I bowed on to a mat legitimately changed my life and put me on a path I never expected to embark upon.

After more than a decade of training in multiple martial arts,  there are a few lessons that I’ve learned that would have been good to know before going all in.   If you are just getting started or considering a martial art, here are my top 10 things to expect that might not be so obvious.  If you are an experienced martial artist, I hope you agree and feel free to add-on in the comments.

Soap

1) This is not Fight Club.

The first rule of Fight Club may have been to never talk about Fight Club but if you really get bit by the martial arts bug, you will not be able to shut up about it.  My poor wife has heard more stories about spinning hook kicks, slip step-under counter hooks and triangle chokes than she knows what to do with.  Be sure to keep that in mind before you jump headlong into another story about how so and so did what and what.

do you want to do a workout

2) You will want to train – all the time.

I would train or teach all day every day if I could.  Perfection is impossible but the pursuit of perfection is available to all.  You’ll find yourself looking to attend multiple classes each week, participating in ‘open mat’ and looking for others to help you improve.   Trust me, it is completely addicting in all the right ways.

CT BB

3) Martial arts is a small, tight knit and supportive family.

For a long time I had the picture above from my son’s black belt test as the wallpaper on my computer.  He is landing a beautiful spinning hook kick and stopping his partner cold.  Now with my job, I am all over the country doing presentations and projecting my computer on big screens in multiple offices every week.  As soon as any martial artist saw the picture, there was an immediate connection.  Questions would immediately turn to his training, my training, rank, passion, training methods and goals.  Heck, I have even spared with some of my clients as I have traveled to their offices.

4) Your Laundry will never be in balance again.

Seriously people, this is an issue I was not anticipating and one my wife hates.   Think about it.  Gis are made from really thick cotton to avoid rips, tears, etc.  It is like having 3 towels in the wash that have to be on the same side of the washer.  Now imagine that in our house with 3 of us (14, 16 & 43) all actively training multiple sessions a week.  It just never stops and the washing machine continually sounds like a jackhammer.

5) There is a reason that martial artists say they “study” and “train”.

If you come across someone who says they  ‘do’ Jujitsu or karate or whatever, you have come across someone who really hasn’t evolved into a martial artist yet (and your belt rank has nothing to do with whether or not you are a martial artist).  To be successful in the martial arts, you really do have to study and train.  You have to study the techniques to understand their effectiveness and when to apply them.  You have to train your body to react to the opportunity without thinking.  I have spent hours on YouTube learning the principals of a technique (study) followed by hours on a mat applying them in an actual situation (train).  I stopped ‘doing’ karate a long time ago.

6) You will always be ‘hurt’.

I don’t remember the last day I was not sore somewhere.  Now please understand, I am not talking about being injured.  That happens pretty rarely in a well-run school environment – there is a difference between martial arts and fighting.  However being sore is routine and an important part of the martial arts lifestyle.  In fact, I have never been as sore as I was the day after my first Jujitsu session.  Soreness indicated weakness and weaknesses can be strengthened through studying and training.

triangle

7) You learn to embrace the suck.

Real progress is made when you put yourself in positions that are challenging to you and you work to improve.  I refer to this process as “suck training”.  As a beginner that may be continually letting your partner jab at you until you can slip the jab.  On the ground, let someone take your back and sink a choke in and then work your way out (this is not for your first day however).  You will fail a lot in these situations but that is the point.  Fail less tomorrow than you did today and fail in different ways than you failed previously.

black eye.jpg

8) People love black eyes – just not receiving them.

I get a black eye or two every year.  Even as a black belt, I occasionally forget to keep my hands up and my partner slips in a great technique or I simply fall the wrong way.  It is simply a part of the beautiful dance we are performing.  What cracks me up is how people outside of martial arts react.  They either want to know every detail and are fascinated by my participation or they are scared to death to ask anything and assume I have some type of sorted past or had a run in with the wrong kind of crowd.  I find both reactions hilarious.

9) Higher level belts practice offense by destroying lower level belts – just slowly.

A really good black belt can execute her techniques at full speed without hurting her partner.  She can also slow it down so that their partner can learn to feel what is going on without losing technique.  As a black belt, when I am sparing a lower belt, I am typically picking a single technique to focus on and do so in a way that will also teach them something (like keep your hands up!!)  Lesson here for beginners – you want to spar the black belts!!!

10) Lower level belts learn defense (aka survival) by being destroyed by higher level belts.

I will never forget the first time I countered a superman punch effectively.  I had been getting caught for weeks with the technique and it was driving me nuts.  In the round it happened in, I was clearly ‘losing’ the round but in my mind, I had won because my goal was to slip the superman punch and I had accomplished it.  If I had been sparing another brown belt at the time, they would not even be throwing that technique.  Lesson here for beginners – you want to spar the black belts!!

smell.jpg

11) Bonus for families that train together – what happens on the mat does not stay on the mat.

Nothing makes my wife more frustrated than when random grappling matches break out in the living room.  Or when someone ends up in a kimura on the couch.  Or when turning a corner someone eats a round kick to the face.  Our house is a virtual mine field of martial arts techniques and I absolutely love it.

I hope the list above gives you a little more insight into the journey you are embarking upon and welcome to the martial arts family.  The destination is absolutely worth the journey.  Oss!!

What to buy the RoadWarrior in your life this Holiday Season

The holiday season is upon us and with it, the gift giving season.  If you either are a RoadWarrior or are close enough to one to buy them gifts, you know that life on the road is just easier when you can carry everything with you on the plane and skip the fun of the baggage carousel.  There is no place I would rather be less than standing around watching the metal conveyor belt revolve around a carpeted island of futility and wasted time.  I avoid it at all costs.  It does not matter whether I am traveling for the day or for the week, you can bet I will be getting it all to fit in the overhead bin so I pay special attention to what I pack in my bag.  Suitcase space is premium real estate and has to be utilized well.

So what are the things that make the grade for me?  

Here is my list, my 12-days of Christmas if you will, of the items that hold special places in my carry on and why.  Feel free to use these ideas for gifts for the RoadWarrior in your life:

 Vibrams

Vibram Five Finger Shoes:

This was probably the first product that I purchased specifically because of the way they travel and the one that I get the most comments on.  Vibrams to put it simply, are awesome and yes, I do run in them regularly.  Now I am not in the camp that is all about minimalist footwear or the camp that wears Five Finger shoes because they will help strengthen the smaller muscles in your feet.  For me, these are all about how much space they take up in a suitcase.  When you wear a size 11 shoe like I do, your tennis shoes take up a lot of space, even if you do stuff them with socks and underwear.  These take up less space than my flip flops and I really do love working out in them now.  I started on the space argument but now don’t think I would ever switch back to traditional shoes.  To shop for your own, click here.

jump rope

Jump Rope:

This is one that travels with me about 50% of the time based on the hotel gym I may be encountering.   All you need is about 10 sq. ft. of space with an 8 ft ceiling and you can get a great HIIT cardio workout in.  One thing to note, if you carry a weighted speed rope like I do, be prepared to be stopped by TSA about 50% of the time.  They are not used to seeing them and often confuse them with a club of some type.  I honestly think the TSA agents are more curious than anything else.

shaker bottle

Water Bottle:

Seems simple enough but I did a whole blog post on the motivating power of an empty water bottle last year.  I now carry a ‘Premium’ bottle with me so that I can have both the benefit of tracking the water I intake as well as being able to utilize the shaker function.

bluetooth headphones

Bluetooth/Sweat Proof Headphones:

I love being able to set my phone on the side of the gym with my other belongings and not have to worry about it falling out of my pocket or me snagging the headphones cord during my work out.  I can’t tell you how many times I sent my phone flying off the treadmill before I invested in a set of these.  I am also a firm believer in having a set of headphones that you work out in and another for phone calls.  I am living, breathing proof that no headphones are truly ‘sweat proof’.

multi

Multi-port USB Charger:

The number 2 priority I place on item selection when it comes to packing is the weight of the time (volume being #1).  When you are traveling with a laptop, iPad, iPhone, bluetooth headphones, etc, etc, etc, that is a lot to charge and a lot of chargers.  One charger, multiple cords.  Less weight.

cinch backpack

Cinch Bag:

You know those cheap backpacks that everyone and their brother are giving away as promotional items and every middle school boy in America is walking around with?  Yep, those.  They are awesome for bringing stuff to the hotel gym, the real gym or even the pool when it is warmer and you either have no pockets or stuff falls out of the pockets really easily (as in every pair of workout shorts ever).

 insulated-lunch-bag-ensures-safe-and-convenient-food-carrying1

Snack bag:

You can read all about the contents here but I always travel with a snack bag, even day trips.  If I am going to invest my time and energy into making sure I get a good workout in, I am going to do everything I can to not sabotage it by making poor dietary choices if I can avoid them.   I always also include Shakeology in my bag as I want complete nutrition options if I find myself in the airport and hungry.

TRX

TRX:

I LOVE MY TRX!!!  However it usually only travels with me when I know the hotel gym that I will be experiencing is beyond lackluster.  This one really does take up a lot of space but especially on short trips, is totally worth it.  I use it routinely at home and on the road and you can get a GREAT workout with this single apparatus.  With the door mount, you don’t even have to leave the hotel room.  Best travel fitness investment I have ever made.

mouthpiece

Mouthpiece:

So this one is pretty specific to the martial artist but it does bring up a good point.  I love to train in martial arts, especially rolling BJJ when I am on the road.  One piece of equipment that is critical to preventing injury is wearing a mouthpiece so I travel with one everywhere I go.  By having my mouthpiece, I can go roll at any school that will have me with little to no notice.  It lets me pursue one of my passions.  For you (or your RoadWarrior) it may be a racket or a club.  Whatever it is, bring it along what you are passionate about so that if the opportunity arises (or you create it), you are not left with the excuse “It is too bad I did not have my……”

So there you have it, the list of my favorite things that may or may not be in your suitcase today.  What makes your cut?  What are the things you simply can’t travel without?

For full disclosure, I am not receiving any type of incentive from the companies that make or distribute these products, with the exception of Shakeology as I am a BeachBody Coach.

Body Image – What’s your standard?

The holiday season is officially upon us, summer is officially over and for some, this comes as a relief.  For others (like me) it marks the end of our favorite season.  The kids are out of the house and back in school.  Football is back in full swing and the temps are starting to come back down which means there is no need to worry about how the bathing suit fits for another 7 months or so.  Somebody cue up the Kool & The Gang!!

Every year when we transition in and out of summer I am always fascinated with the obsession around the bathing suit.  With people across the nation fretting over the concept of the ideal body I want to ask you, What’s your ideal body?

Who do you spend your time looking at?  For some it is the models on the cover of the magazines.  Others, it is the folks that they see in the gym every day, you know the ones that seem to literally live there.  For me, it is the fighters who train their body to sustain an abuse that I hope you and I never know that I look at the most.  It is an image that I probably should not be so focused on but we are all friends here so I’ll put it out there.

UFC

I spend A LOT of time paying attention to the fighters.  Their training techniques.  Fight results and the news reports around the fights.  These athletes are fittest of the fit.  They have a body fat % that can be measured in the single digits, they train up to 4 times a day and have positioned their bodies to withstand the most abusive physical demands you can imagine.  And yet somehow they are my benchmark.

I have a problem….

When it comes to body image, I have always said I have one particular goal.  I simply want to fill out a T-Shirt well.  I don’t want to be huge but I want to be fit……and then I watch a UFC fight.  These guys are in the prime shape of their lives.  Other than the heavyweights, I would guess that the average body fat % is about 7%.  Tack on 2 – 4 weeks of weight cutting (read: losing up to 25 lbs and dehydrating themselves to the brink of death) and these modern day gladiators present a statute that is completely impossible to keep, even for them.  Doesn’t mean that I still don’t have that mental image in my head every time I run, lift, roll or step on the mat…and it is not healthy.

The reality is I am a 43 year old man who will never step foot inside an Octagon.

Sure, I spar.  I roll.  I train but I am never going to test myself the way these athletes do.  I am also not on the variety of performance enhancing drugs/supplements that these athletes are.  There is literally no way I can achieve the standard they set.  However I still regularly find myself trying to.

  • I don’t have the testosterone level they do.
  • I don’t have the time to train multiple sessions a day
  • I am not dedicated to that purpose
  • It is not my profession…………but yet I still compare myself to these professional athletes who train for a living.

I think I finally know what girls and women around the world have been dealing with for decades.  How can we possibly achieve the standards we see in the media (even without the prolific airbrushing)?  We can’t.  The standards are not realistic and we are picturing the top .001% of the population (probably even more remote than that but still…..) as the ‘standard’.  So give yourself a new standard to measure yourself against.

Measure your future self against your current self.  The only one you are in competition with is yourself.  Simply be better tomorrow than you are today.  That is the gold standard.

Are you ready?

Look, if you had one shot, one opportunity, to seize everything you ever wanted. One moment. Would you capture it or just let it slip away? – Eminem

In life you have to be prepared to take advantages of opportunities when they pass by.

This past Saturday, I had an opportunity come and smack me in the face.  While training at the karate studio, the Master Instructor asked me if I was ready to test for my Second Degree Black Belt in 13 days!!!!

Thirteen days?  Are you crazy?  I trained for 8 intensive weeks to receive my black belt……and that nearly killed me!!! (You can read that story here). Thirteen days!?!?!  There is no way I can do that!!

Now up until that moment, we had not even discussed the possibility of testing. No commentary on what would be needed to be prepared, where he or the other instructors saw weaknesses in my game or even the structure of the new test.

Just a spontaneous “are you ready?” conversation.  There was only one answer I could give…..

“Absolutely!”

You see, I train with a purpose and so should you.

Now your purpose is probably not the same as mine.  Not many people are actively training in multiple martial arts and focused on being able to go 10 rounds or stop multiple assailants on a plane if needed (yes, I really do think like that).   However everyone should put a purpose behind their health goals.

It is easy to skip a workout, or multiple workouts, when you don’t have a clearly defined purpose.  It’s easy to order the chili cheese fries when you don’t have a goal staring you in the face.  It’s easy to have that extra glass of wine when there is nothing to focus on.

Without a big goal to command your focus in the long run, the decisions you make in the short run lend themselves to the easy rather than the best choice.

So what is your goal?  Is it…

scale

Weight loss:

You know this is a simple matter of calories in, calories out.  You also have to understand that it is the marathon of goals, not the sprint.  Set a weight target and a realistic date to hit it and then track your ongoing progress (there are lots of great apps and calculators out there to help you do this).  Put that number everywhere you turn so it is constantly reminding you of the real treat, seeing your number on the scale.

Blood pressure

Lowered Blood Pressure:

Talk to your Dr. About what you need to do specifically in this area but I know for my family it is keeping salt to a minimum and making sure we are exercising.  Skip the salt shaker and get your 20 minutes in everyday.  Believe me you will feel and sleep a whole lot better.  Track it regularly and celebrate small incremental decreases.

energy

More energy throughout your day:

Foods high in refined sugar and carbs lead to spikes in blood sugar and corresponding crashes.  Remind yourself before indulging in those cookies of how you will feel an hour later.  Is the short term burst worth the crash later that day.  Sometimes the answer is ‘yes’ but work to make ‘yes’ a rarer and rarer answer.

headshot

Fitting in your clothes better:

When I started this fitness journey about 5 years ago, this was a major goal of mine.  When I am on the mat I am often wearing a rash guard/compression shirt.  They show every ripple, bulge, love handle, muscle or lack there of.  I was embarrassed enough of my body that I would wear a t-shirt over the rash guard until it was time to step on the mat.  Vanity was, and still is, a major motivator for me.

Interestingly, I fill out t-shirts and rash guards much better now but I still am in the habit of wearing a t-shirt over them for the most part, even in the gym.  I guess some habits are really ingrained.

But let’s not lose sight of the bigger issue here, you have to have a long term goal to help you make good short term decisions.

G2G

Jim Collins in his book Good to Great defines it as a BHAG -Big Hairy Audacious Goal.

If you have a clearly defined BHAG, and you keep it front and center, when the opportunity arises for you to make a choice that either gets your closer or moves you further away, the answer will be clear for you too.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a test to go train for.  Time to go spar, roll and practice katas.
See you on the road.

My top 5 runs across the country……

If you follow me on Instagram, you know I am fan of combining sightseeing with fitness through running.  I absolutely love running in cities across the country as a way to get both my workout in and see more of the city.  I recently had the opportunity to run Central Park in NYC for the first time and had several followers who commented that it was their favorite run.  That got me to thinking….

What are my top 5 runs across the country?

To me, a run has to have a few key elements in order to make the top 5.  After all, you can run anywhere but there are only certain places where I am going out of my way to make sure I get a run in.  So what makes a top 5 run for me?

The distance:  This is actually a tricky one as I want a route that can be flexible enough to accommodate routes between 3-6 miles.  If I don’t have much time, I need to keep it short and sweet but in order to be top 5, it still has to have the other elements below.

The sights:  Looking at the same thing for 30-60 minutes is incredibly boring to me.  I have a special kind of envy for those who can do long runs on a treadmill but I am unfortunately not among them.  I love running but I need to have something to keep my mind going through the run.  All of the runs below differ in the scenery but all of them have incredible scenery.

The challenge:  On my ideal run, we don’t just run.  Each of the runs below also include the opportunity to include an additional physical challenge unique to that run.

Soldier Field

#5 Lake Front – Chicago:

‘Da Bears!!  Running by Soldier Field, the Convention Center and Navy Pier?  Sign me up!!!  However with that said, I will only do this one between May and October.  Outside of those dates, forget it.  Otherwise Minneapolis probably would have made the list.

image

#4 Fort Lauderdale Beach, FL:

I probably do this run more than any other next to #1 below.  Every time I am in South Florida with extra time on my hands, you can find me here.  With courses of various lengths and a fitness challenge park near the south side of Fort Lauderdale beach, this really does have it all.  Add to it the ocean and great dining al fresco once you are done with your run and you can understand why I will shower in the Admirals Club just to be able to get one of these runs in.

image image

#3 San Diego Convention Center:

Great views, challenging course and great weather year round, you really cannot go wrong here.  I like to run the waterfront first, especially by the USS Midway where World War II ended and finish with the stairs at the convention center itself.  I have never run this course alone as there are always folks getting their workout in at the Convention Center.  The constant hum of helicopters ferrying around training Navy SEALs is only added inspiration for normal folk like me.

strip 2 Strip

#2 Las Vegas Strip:

The strip has morphed over the last decade or so to allow for all of the pedestrian traffic to never have to stop for a stoplight.  All you have to do is go hit the escalator and take the sky bridge.  What this means for runners is that you can do between 3 – 10 miles on the strip easily without ever having to wait for a stoplight to change and you get the challenge of constantly running stairs.  However you have to do this one early in the morning and not just to avoid the heat and crowds.  No, the people watching provided by the strip in the early morning hours cannot be matched anywhere else.  Where else in the world can you see folks who are stumbling home from a night out, workers heading home from all kinds of professions and the families heading out with their kids to show them the sights?  There is no better people watching in the world.

WWII  DSC_0065  White house

#1 The Capital Mall – Washington DC:

Hands down my number 1 run in the country.  If I want a short run, it is from Lincoln to Washington and back.  More time?  Start at Arlington, head across the Memorial Bridge and hit the Capital Cross.  Want something more physically challenging?  Run the mall and Potomac Stairs with interval exercises in between.  Best part of this run is you cannot go more than 4 steps without seeing history, literally (and dodging tourists is always entertaining).  I have run this path in all kinds of weather and conditions (I think the Korean War Memorial is best seen in the snow) but if you can time your trip to coordinate with the Cherry Blossoms, it is absolutely stunning.

So there it is, my top 5.  Now there were a whole bunch of others that came close (Huntington Beach, The Parthenon in Nashville, Seattle Center, Palm Beach and Central Park amongst others) but they all were missing at least one of the elements above.  So let me hear from you RoadWarrior Nation…what are your top runs across the US?

My favorite travel things….

Anyone who travels at all knows that life is just easier when you can carry everything with you on the plane and skip the fun of the baggage carrousel.  There is no place I would rather be less than standing around watching the metal conveyor belt revolve around a carpeted island of futility and wasted time.  I avoid it at all costs.  It does not matter whether I am traveling for the day or for the week, you can bet I will be getting it all to fit in the overhead bin so I pay special attention to what I pack in my bag.  Suitcase space is premium real estate and has to be utilized well.

So what are the things that make the grade for me?

Here is my list of what holds special place in my carry on and why.  These are just a few of my favorite things (cue the edelweiss background music):

shoes
Vibram Five Finger Shoes:

This was probably the first product that I purchased specifically because of the way they travel and the one that I get the most comments on.  Vibrams to put it simply, are awesome and yes, I do run in them regularly.  Now I am not in the camp that is all about minimalist footwear or the camp that wears Five Finger shoes because they will help strengthen the smaller muscles in your feet.  For me, these are all about how much space they take up in a suitcase.  When you wear a size 11 shoe like I do, your tennis shoes take up a lot of space, even if you do stuff them with socks and underwear.  These take up less space than my flip flops and I really do love working out in them now.  I started on the space argument but now don’t think I would ever switch back to traditional shoes.  To shop for your own, click here.

jump rope

Jump Rope:

This is one that travels with me about 50% of the time based on the hotel gym I may be encountering.   All you need is about 10 sq ft of space with an 8 ft ceiling and you can get a great HIIT cardio workout in.  One thing to note, if you carry a weighted speed rope like I do, be prepared to be stopped by TSA about 50% of the time.  They are not used to seeing them and often confuse them with a club of some type.  I have never been stopped when I have carried my true rope with wooden handles though.

shaker bottle
Water bottle:

Seems simple enough but I did a whole blog post on just this about a year ago.  I know carry a ‘Premium’ bottle with me so that I can have both the benefit of tracking the water I intake as well as being able to utilize the shaker function.

TRX
TRX:

I LOVE MY TRX!!!  However it usually only travels with me when I know the hotel gym that I will be experiencing is beyond lackluster.  This one really does take up a lot of space but is totally worth it.  I use it routinely at home and on the road and you can get a GREAT workout with this single apparatus.  With the door mount, you don’t even have to leave the hotel room.  Best travel fitness investment I have ever made.

Snack bag:

You can read all about the contents here but I always travel with a snack bag, even day trips.  If I am going to invest my time and energy into making sure I get a good workout in, I am going to do everything I can to not sabotage it by making poor dietary choices if I can avoid them.   I always also include Shakeology in my bag as I want complete nutrition.

mouthpiece
Mouthpiece:

So this one is pretty specific to the martial artist but it does bring up a good point.  I love to train in martial arts, especially rolling BJJ.  One piece of equipment that is critical to preventing injury is wearing a mouthpiece so I travel with one everywhere I go.  A mouthpiece is custom fit to your mouth so it is not like you just go borrow one or pick one up at Walmart.  By having my mouthpiece, I can go roll at any school that will have me with little to no notice.  It lets me pursue one of my passions.  For you it may be a raquette or a club but bring along what you are passionate about so that if the opportunity arises (or you create it), you are not left with the excuse “It is too bad I did not have my……”

So there you have it, the list of my favorite things that may or may not be in your suitcase today.  What makes your cut?  What are the things you simply can’t travel without?

For full disclosure, I am not receiving any type of incentive from the companies that make or distribute these products, with the exception of Shakeology as I am a Beachbody Coach.

Starting over….but not from the same spot.

These last couple of months have been really rough travel months for me.  I have spent more days on the road than I can count, been to all four corners of the country and in looking towards the end of the month, there is no letup in sight.  I’m not going to lie; it has been difficult to keep my physical, emotional and especially my mental health in a good place through this season.

I find when I go on streaks like this, it is my mental health that seems to suffer the most, especially due to the central role my martial arts training contributes to keeping me centered.  You see when you are on a mat with someone who is either trying to kick you in the head or stop you from breathing, you tend hyper focus on the moment and not worry about anything else.  I no longer think about that project that is due, the deal I am trying to get closed or even the next blog post.  I am completely in the moment.  It really is cathartic for me.

The problem is, you have to be on the mat to really train and you can’t be on the mat if you are constantly on the road!!

I remember when I first started training in American Karate I started with a clear goal in mind, I wanted to earn my black belt before I turned 40.  I knew the minimum time requirement spent at each belt level per the curriculum and knew that as long as I did not miss training sessions and always passed my belt tests, I could do it but just barely.  Fast forward 5 years and I received my black belt 3 months before my 40th birthday in dramatic fashion (read about that experience here).  If I had had a section of travel like the season has been, it would have been devastating to me and put me way off on my goals, my training and my attitude.  Training was about rank advancement not necessarily personal improvement at that point.

DSC_0303

A forced break like this would have destroyed me.

In addition to training in karate, I also recently started training in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu.  This forced break has made me realize that I have taken a completely different approach to training and my mindset.  The different approach was not an intentional one but one that is a probably healthier.  Maybe it is because I have lower expectations due to my schedule or maybe it is because I have matured as a martial artist but I have no expectations around rank advancement in BJJ.   No goals around when I will advance, tournaments to win or techniques to master.  I just roll and learn…..and get lost in my own head.

I am a no-stripe white belt and I am OK with that.

DSC_0273

During my forced hiatus, I have continued to see my training partners and friends tweet, post, Instagram and Periscope their ongoing training sessions.  I can literally see them progress past my skill level, and I am ok with that.  This new journey has become much more than a color on a belt for me and their journey is not mine.  I have also found that there is so much I can do off the mat to be ready to be on the mat and in seasons like this, it is where my training has focused.

So why share all of this?  Because as RoadWarriors, it is easy to lose track of getting centered.  We are trying to be productive, to utilize our time to the greatest of our ability and to simply survive the gauntlet that is living life on the road but even with all of that, you have to make time for the activities that center you.  So what do you do to keep yourself centered and how do you make it a part of your daily routine?  For me it is train, pray and read.  I am not sure what it is for you but you have to make sure you do it.

Let me know and I will see you on the road.