Better is the enemy of good

The most precious commodity in life is time. There just never seems to be enough. I will admit that most of the time I have more than enough I just don’t use time wisely. However, sometimes we really don’t have enough time to train everything as thoroughly as necessary. What do we do on those days? I know for me one of the internal battles I fight is the urge to do nothing if I can’t do everything. I think it’s pointless if I can’t do a “real” practice session. I’ve struggled with this at times and I finally had to come to terms with reality; sometimes a little is better than none.

Voltaire said, “Better is the enemy of good.” My understanding of Voltaire’s statement is we sometimes won’t accept good because we think there is better. While that might be true there are also times where good is in fact good enough for now.

First we have to accept that during those sessions where time is limited we might not be able to make improvements but we can still maintain our current skill level. Second, we might want to focus on weak points since our time is limited we might as well put it to good use. Third, we want to integrate as many skills as possible into each round. Think of it in strength training terms, if you only had ten minutes to lift weights and you needed the biggest bang for your buck what exercises would you choose; deadlifts or bicep curls?

Here is an example of a quick and easy practice regimen when life is getting in the way. I’m still going to practice everyday. However, my practice is going to be limited to five minutes in each discipline. I will set a timer on my watch or iPhone to keep me on task.

  • The first five minutes I’m going to work an empty hand combo; Technical standups to a cross/hook/cross combo. I’ll do this repeatedly with as much mental intensity as possible. In my mind I’ve been knocked down and have to get up safely. Once on my feet I need to take the fight to my opponents so I need to get up ready to throw hate.
  • My second five minute round will be an integrated round. Three straight punches with pistol access and mount on the fourth count. So I’m going to throw left/right/left and go for my pistol. I’m going to do this for five minutes again, with as much mental intensity as I can bring to bear. I’m driving an opponent off of me while accessing  tool to keep his buddies off of me.
  • The third five minute round will focus on after action options. I will start with the knife in hand. With my knife hand only I will reholster the knife, and access a tourniquet. Now apply the tourniquet to my non-knife bearing arm. To save time I’m only going to apply the tourniquet to my forearm and I’m not going to turn the windlass. The focus is on shifting gears from wrecking souls to saving myself. I’m going to do as many of these transitions from knife to TQ application as possible in five minutes with the mental intensity appropriate to the task. I’m possibly saving my life and seconds matter. I know I can lose a lot of blood in 90 seconds. My transitional movement will reflect that premise.

There you have it, in fifteen minutes we covered empty hands to integrated weapons to life saving skills. If you have more time you can add more rounds incorporating a broader range of skills however, if you’re really pressed for time and the most you can spare is fifteen minutes you can still do some good work. If you have less time available then simply shorten the rounds. Three 3 minute rounds is nine more minutes of work we deposited into our skill and will account. I tend to think every little bit helps.