It can be hard to follow my own advice – Train with intensity

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In my articles and when I am teaching I try to express the importance of being present and attentive in class. Going through the motions does not help you learn and can leave you vulnerable to injury. Unfortunately, as with most important things, this is easier said than done and I failed in being attentive in my last class.

I was learning a new Brazilian Jiu Jitsu sweep but I was tired and unfocused and I hyperextended my big toe. I know boo hoo, I got a boo-boo but it was very painful and being in my unfocused frame of mind, I was ready to call it a day. Since that would have been unfair to my partner, I continued with the exercise and tried to be more attentive.

After that exercise, it was time to spar. I grappled with the lower belts so I was able to go through the motions, then the teacher came over. When he came up to me, I told him that I did not want to grapple with him because of my toe. He gave me a look and asked if I really meant it (a little less politely). His comment made me realize the problem was more with my state of mind than my toe.

I grappled with the teacher and I really put my heart into it. His reaction to my comment snapped me back into training and reminded me why I was there. I forgot about my injury and I refocused myself on the training. It snapped me back into such good focus that I was able to not only finish the martial arts class but really kill the conditioning class after the martial arts class.

The lesson is to not B.S. yourself. Even if you are a very dedicated martial artist, there will be times that your heart is not 100% into training, you will not be focused or you will latch onto an excuse to stop. It is important to recognize when you are not at your best and push yourself to remain focused. If you are not able to snap yourself out of your funk, let someone else push you out (a partner or teacher).

I am grateful for the teachers that challenge me and remind me to stay the course. We all need a kick in the butt sometimes to stay on track. Let your trainer keep you on track. They will notice when you are off, sometimes before you do. When they do push you, remember why you are in class and put your heart into it.

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