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.
Claude Werner, the Tactical Professor, is someone I respect and look up to. His insights into violence, and violent encounters has shaped the way I approach training and preparation for the fight. I’m re-posting his blog post on the North Hollywood Shootout. Pay attention as Claude points out valuable lessons that apply to the private citizen.
In the midst of the hullabaloo recently, a major historical even has been largely overlooked. On February 28, 1997, a huge shootout took place in North Hollywood (Los Angeles) California. On one side were two heavily armed and armored bank robbers. On the other side were hundreds of Los Angeles Police Officers. The shootout lasted […]
via The North Hollywood Shootout — tacticalprofessor
It’s that time of year again. Please let your elderly family members know to keep their doors locked, and don’t allow anyone they don’t know into their yard and/or home. If someone they don’t know rings their doorbell they can speak to them through the door, there is no need to open the door. If they insist that they open the door, call 911. The police would love to make contact with the senior scam artist, particularly the physically aggressive senior scam artist. Because of the neighborhood I live in, (nice area, historical district, most of the residents are seniors though this is rapidly changing), we get these a few times a year. As William Aprill has said numerous times, just because you avoid stupid people, stupid places, and stupid things doesn’t mean they will avoid you. As a matter of fact they just might seek you out since you have things they wish to take, by force if necessary. (Refer to the three reasons people resort to violence.)
Yesterday I answered my door to find two guys offering to trim the trees that are touching the power lines in my backyard. I decided to let this play out to see how it would go.
I said there are no power lines in my backyard. “Maybe you aren’t aware of them? My associate can show you…”
This is a tried and true scam. powerline touching trees, shingles missing from the roof, or the offer to give you an estimate on spring cleaning yard work are all common scams. It allows them access to your home while the runner takes you on a road trip around your property, keeping you away from the home while they steal everything valuable. Usually they make a bee-line for the bedrooms as that is where most folks keep jewelry and extra cash. They are in and out fast because they are pros. This is their job.
A couple of things happened during this exchange that should set off alarms. He reached for the door handle to open the door. It was locked but he tried several times to open the door. Is this something normal people do? No. Normal people don’t attempt to open the door of a stranger’s home. This is someone who doesn’t recognize boundaries. I’m sure this is how he’s gained access to other homes while running this scam. He said, “I’ll wait here while my partner takes you back there to show you. Put your dogs away, and meet him by the gate…” No. I don’t need to go anywhere and your partner doesn’t need to go into my backyard. Also, they already knew there was a locked gate, and dogs. Another warning sign; they’ve already done their recon. Which leads me to believe this isn’t random, they’ve done enough recon to know the lay of the land. However, they didn’t do enough to know I was home as they seemed genuinely surprised when I answered the door. Which leads to another commonly used tactic. The criminals will ring the doorbell and if there is no answer they will kick in the back door to burglarize the residence. This will, or should, influence your decision to answer that doorbell. Answering it involves interacting with the unknown contact. However, not answering rolls the dice on them kicking the door of what they might think is an unoccupied residence. Be prepared for either.
They continued to push the angle of attempting to gain access to the backyard of my residence while also coercing me into opening the locked storm door through which I was engaging them. I decided I had learned all I needed to learn from this interaction. I let them know I knew what they were up to. Any further action on their part, (other than leaving my property immediately and never returning), would involve a vigorous response. They chose to move on. I have neighbors that are openly and publicly opposed to our right to self-defense. Those residences would be a much better target for the criminal offender. Hell, if the criminal offender tells them they are a convicted felon they will probably give them a hug and help them load their bags with the family valuables. For the rest of us, pass the word to your loved ones particularly the elderly as that’s the most frequently targeted demographic. It’s that time of year, again.
Training is a lifestyle that involves being uncomfortable most of the time. Exposure to material is an element of training. However, that is not training. We have to know the difference. We can’t let our ego fool us. Exposure to material isn’t the same as drilling deep into something so that it becomes you. If you are comfortable during a training session or cycle you are not trying. Growth comes from being uncomfortable. It’s called growing pains for a reason.
Training is consistent perfect repetitions over a long period of time. This can be brutal. Ten to fifteen reps is no problem. Add a few zeros to the back of those numbers and the pain train comes rolling in. Perfect repetitions require mental intensity. Fatigue sets in quickly, and it’s a different type of fatigue. This is where discipline shines. The ability to buckle down and stay the course for rep after rep. Perfect rep after perfect rep. Do that for ten years and we have a deep reservoir of skill and experience.
Training contains ruthless accountability. Accountability to ourselves, our training partners, our tribe. Always strive to excel. We can not allow ourselves to take the easy way out, or lie to ourselves regarding our performance. We can not allow our training partners to lie to themselves about their performance. There is also accountability to our history. There are those that have gone before us paving the way for us. We owe them our best. Kimura did 600 to 1,000 pushups and Randori for up to 9 hours daily. That doesn’t include everything else he was doing each day to prepare himself. I don’t know about you but I definitely have not come close to that level of effort today or any day in recent history.
Most importantly training has to be grounded in solid material. Recently proven tested material. Realistic material. Not fantasy. One of the biggest benefits to the Aliveness training methodology is there is little room for fantasy. Things that don’t work don’t last. No one enjoys failure, and in this arena fantasy fails. Failure equals pain. The bad kind of pain so don’t do it.
Check those boxes and you’ll be well-trained in whatever it is you do. You will be competent and life rewards competence. You won’t be comfortable. However, you will be competent and that is comforting.
While we want to train intensely and intelligently we also want to recover as intensely and intelligently. Having studied and applied almost every possible recovery method I can find I want to share with you a stripped down and to the point recovery plan.
Here’s my recovery plan in four simple steps. (This list is compiled from multiple sources over years of doing the work so forgive the lack of citations.)
1) Sleep well. As in 7-8 hours of sound sleep. I’ve been guilty of getting quite a bit less than that. For years. Studies show the cumulative affects of less than 7 hours sleep a night can be detrimental. If this is an area where you’re slacking then this is an easy fix. Hit the rack earlier, and get those hours.
2) Get moving in a non-strenuous way. A couple easy 10-15 minute walks a day are immensely beneficial. This is not a training session, this is recovery. You want to get some blood flowing, breath some fresh air, and move your body. Listen to a podcast, make a few phone calls, or just unplug for a few moments while your enjoy the air.
3) Eat enough water-rich, nutrient dense colorful food. Folks don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables. Eating well ensures we will have the full spectrum of vitamins, aminos, and minerals necessary to fully recover between training sessions. Also hydrate. Add some sea salt to your water so you hang onto to some of that hydration. Eat and hydrate as well as you can everyday.
4) Guard your thoughts. Negative thoughts will sap your recovery ability as much as lack of sleep or poor nutrition. We all have those moments. However, we can’t allow ourselves to stay in a negative state. Just like we physically pick ourselves up from the mat we must mentally pick ourselves up when knocked down. Stay focused on our goals, and commit to daily improvement.
Those are four key steps to recovery in a streamlined package. Execute these steps everyday and recovery will never be your Achilles Heel again.
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.
We all have had, and continue to have the opportunity to rise to the challenge. We face adversity on a regular occasion whether it’s externally or internally generated.
Sometimes we might find ourselves thinking; not again, or why does this happen to me. I know I have battled those thoughts. With mental state being the most important aspect of this thing we do, we need to keep our mind right. Embrace adversity as an opportunity to show the world you can rise again. Nothing can keep you down, and this is the perfect opportunity to remind the world of this fact.
“Occasions do not make a man either strong or weak, but they show what he is.”
— Thomas A Kempis
Adversity doesn’t make you, adversity reveals you. Let the circumstances you are in show the world how badass you are. No matter how bad it looks let those watching see, you got this.