No Limping

In this blog we’ve discussed quite a few times discomfort, our ability to tolerate discomfort, and it’s role in our success in this endeavor. I can’t stress this enough; if we can’t mentally associate discomfort with growth we will never stick with this long enough to reap the rewards. 

 

There is simply no way around this. I’ll be honest with y’all. (Even though I don’t want to because I’m a firm believer in my father’s rule: no limping. Meaning you never, ever,  ever acknowledge pain. Ever. I don’t care if your leg is broken, you do not limp.) However, for the sake of this blog post I’m going to shoot straight with you folks. I hurt head to toe every damn day. I train 6-7 days a week and have for as long as I can remember. I roll, bang, lift weights, dry fire, and condition everyday. I’ve done that for years. While it’s safe to say I’m experiencing the normal muscle and joint pain of wrestling and boxing with large mammals on a daily basis, there is also the nagging injuries that never seem to completely go away or if they do they are immediately replaced with a new injury. It’s the game, and everyone I know in this game will tell you their experience is identical. As I tell my gym members I love jiujitsu but it doesn’t always love me back. The point of violating my personal directive in sharing this is to let you know, embrace the discomfort because it’s a sign that growth is occurring. You’re not the only one feeling the discomfort, and head to toe aches and pains. So don’t let it deter you. It’s a good thing. It means you’re growing, and adjusting. Right now this is abnormal but soon this will be your normal.

 

For the athletes that have been at this for a minute the discomfort takes a toll. We all experience that mental fatigue of just wanting to accept where we are as good enough and coast. Don’t do it. Fight that complacency. “Discomfort is the price of admission to a meaningful life.” – Dr Susan David.

 

Want to Talk Mindset?

It’s impossible for me to discuss mindset without talking about hellacious practice and training sessions. Times when we couldn’t carry ourselves off the mat or out of the ring after practice. Times when we collapsed trying to walk to our car after a conditioning session. Or those times when we slept in our car because the thought of walking up the steps to get into our house where we would have to walk up another flight of stairs to get to the shower was just a miserable thought.

 

We learn mindset by pushing ourselves to the breaking point physically. Pushing those edges is where we learn our mind is much more powerful than our body. The mind drives the body beyond perceived thresholds. Then we do it again, and push even farther.

 

Is it necessary to train and practice at that level every time? No. 

 

Is it necessary to have trained and practiced at that level for a time? Yes.

 

 

Have a listen to Josh Hinger at the 8 minute mark in this video talk about the mindset of a champion, and the training intensity that this mindset brings to each session.

 

Then get some and go again.

 

 

If It Bends

During Jiu-Jitsu class I frequently remind my trainees if it bends it will break. The it being any joint in the body from head to toe.

 

Your Jiu-Jitsu sets you up to be dangerous on your feet or on the ground. Anything you touch on your opponent should be in jeopardy instantly or within a few seconds. As Coach Matt Thornton, Straight Blast Gym founder and president says, “only one person should be comfortable in a Jiu-Jitsu match”. Meaning that during a fight you should be in a position to inflict  damage while being relatively safe from damage.

 

Within Jiu-Jitsu there is some discussion regarding leg-locks and wrist-locks as it pertains to the rules set forth in some competitions. My thoughts are this, train to be dangerous regardless of rule set. Similar to the saying; I’d rather have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. Read the rules, develop your game plan within the rules given, and then do the best you can. Simple enough.

 

Without the rules you are free to do as you wish, (within the law…), so be as dangerous as possible. Study and develop a complete Jiu-Jitsu game. It it bends it will break. If someone touches you with malevolent intent, start breaking it. All of it.

Hit First, Hit Fast, Hit Last

One of the first of many cool sayings I heard as a young man in the fight game was; hit first, hit fast, hit last. I’ve heard this attributed to a number of folks so I really don’t know who I should say I’m quoting. Teddy Atlas? Cus D’Amato? Salim Assili? This would seem to be one of those universal truths that apply to any fighting art. Bottom line, as one that was brand new to the game this was an important lesson for me to learn.

 

It would seem self-evident but sometimes we need an outside voice to give us permission to make the first move in defense of life and limb. Putting my hands on someone without waiting for them to put their hands on me was a foreign concept. Most of us have been taught by family, friends, and society to avoid throwing the first punch. The person throwing the first punch is always the aggressor therefore, wrong. At this point I realize how wrong I was to accept this as true back then, and after having witnessed a few violent confrontations I can assure you I have no issue throwing the first punch. Think about it this way, how many hits can you take before you’re unconscious? Once unconscious you can no longer defend yourself or your loved ones. Don’t let that happen. You need to act, and act right now. You can solve the legal challenges after the fact, with the help of competent counsel but right now, in the moment when your gut is screaming that something just isn’t right? You gotta get it on before he makes his move.

 

Imposter Syndrome

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One of the things I struggle with is imposter syndrome. That nagging feeling that I’m not really deserving of any accolades, or recognition I might receive. I worry that I’m deep in Dunning-Kruger and as a result don’t know enough to know how much I don’t know.

 

I don’t know how to stop those thoughts from running through my head. All I know is I train like a madman to make sure I’ve done everything I can do to deserve anything I’m given. I’m actually envious of people that have no clue how much they suck. Their confidence in their non-existent skills has to be a great feeling. I mean that sincerely. I wish I could be that but I can’t. I will continue to struggle with whether I deserve to even wear a black belt, or have anyone listen to anything I say on the topic of self protection.

 

And I will continue to work my ass off to ensure that those that have trusted me enough to invest their time and effort in passing on their knowledge to me aren’t disappointed. I will continue to work my ass off to make sure folks that trust me enough to train them will find that training valuable.

 

That’s the only answer I know or have ever known.

A Few of My Favorite Films

During the holidaze it’s not unusual to experience a bit of the blahs. Here are a few documentaries I like to watch for inspiration. Most are fight sport related. Check them out if you need a little boost.

Choke – (A Rickson Gracie Documentary) is mandatory viewing. I watch this at least twice a year if not more.

 

 

ROLL: Jiu-Jitsu in So Cal which features my coach Chris Haueter is easily my favorite. I watch this or parts of this film twice a month… at least twice a month.

 

 

Jiu-Jitsu VS The World which also features Chris Haueter. You can learn more about Chris  here.

 

 

Anything featuring Karelin will get you motivated. The Experiment was on another level.

 

 

The Highland Games and strongman competition is near and dear to my heart. I simply love every aspect of the games. Stoneland inspires me due to my Scottish heritage and some of my earliest memories are seeing the men in my family participate in feats of strength.

 

 

The Rogue Series contain some real gems, and I get a lot of inspiration and motivation from watching these.

 

 

Anything featuring Ramon The Diamond Dekkers makes me want to throw hands.

 

 

Steve Prefontaine set a standard that others can only strive to attain. Pre’s mental approach to the sport inspires my mental approach to everything I do.

 

I hope you found some inspiration if you needed it, if not just keep it in mind for the time when you do. Happy holidays, enjoy the time with your family and friends.

Embrace the Debrief

I’m in my 20th year as a Peace Officer. During that time I’ve been involved in quite few debriefs, and I’ve noticed something… most people don’t like to honestly, and ruthlessly seek the truth in performance.

 

Before we go further let’s take a look at something I found on Wikipedia regarding the debrief;

Ernesto Yturralde, experiential trainer and researcher, explains: “In the field of experiential learning methodology, the debriefing is a semi-structured process by which the facilitator, once a certain activity is accomplished, makes a series of progressive questions in this session, with an adequate sequence that let the participants reflect what happened, giving important insights with the aim of that project towards the future, linking the challenge with the actions and the future.”

Debriefing sessions can be made directly without the use of “props” or with them as support tools, achieving highly productive sessions. The skill levels of professional facilitators and their visions for each process, will be essential to capitalize on the experiences of experiential workshops, in moments of inspiration, teachable moments that become Debriefing sessions, into commitments for action.

“Emotional Decompression” is one style of psychological debriefing proposed by David Kinchin in his 2007 book by that name.

Experiential learning debriefing is the basis for debriefing in Medical Simulation, used widely within healthcare.[3]

 

See, here is the thing; in every profession where potentially life changing decisions are made there needs to be a systematic approach to the debrief. The debrief must be honest, and most of all ruthless in pursuit of anything that will improve future performance. Now, most folks will say they are down with this approach. They will swear that they want to hear feedback. How to do things better, to have mistakes highlighted so they can be better prepared in the future. After all, our mistakes help us develop training plans. Yet, I’ve been in debriefs that would lead one to believe everything was perfectly executed. “Nobody got hurt”, is heard frequently during those debriefs, as if that means everything was done right. I think it would do some folks well to remember the only reason “nobody got hurt” is because the opponents they faced sucked worse than they did. “You can’t judge my actions now”. Actually yes we can, and we should. You/me/we should embrace that judgement.

 

A debrief is essentially an opportunity for peer review. Our peers and mentors give us feedback. Why wouldn’t we want them to be as ruthlessly honest as possible? It is to our benefit. We must push back against our ego which will kick and scream telling us these people need to walk a mile in our shoes, or stop Monday morning quarter backing us. Crush that ego, don’t be a weakling. They have, and they are not.

 

We must embrace the debrief. After every roll ask your training partner what you need to work on. Every live fire practice, or match you shoot, ask your squad mates what you need to work on. And if you’re ever in a position where you sit in on an organized debrief,  and it is your turn to be in the hot seat? Embrace that moment, and the subsequent growth.