One of my favorite speakers has a quote: “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” The same goes for training.
As I mentioned in an earlier article, I had some obligations, work and otherwise, that kept me from training the way I wanted. Well, I have remedied that situation and I am training again. I still have the obligations but I have changed my diet and have a bit more energy.
This experience demonstrated to me that training is like canoeing upstream. When you stop, the current pushes you back downstream. Technique is not as sharp, flexibility is down and endurance is lower than it should be.
It is proof that martial arts is a lifestyle and there is no off season. This becomes more relevant when you get older. My 19-year-old son had to take off a month from exercise and 2 months from martial arts. He suffered the same setback, but he recovered faster than I did, especially with endurance. However, my technique bounced back faster since I have been training longer and it sunk in deeper.
The push back downstream is constant. As one of my teachers says one needs to touch martial arts everyday if one is to master it. He compares it to walking. In our first 5 years we are very awkward in our walking but as we grow our walking gets better since we do it every day. When an astronaut is in space for an extended period of time, they have trouble walking when they get back to earth. They have not practiced it in a long time and they get pushed back downstream.
Work, family and obligations are not excuses. They are obstacles. We need to work to pay our bills. We want to spend time with our families and we have responsibilities to our families. We are also peppered with other obligations. The cure is scheduling. Getting up early or missing our TV show are necessary if we are going to include martial arts in our lives.
When life gets tough, it is easy to fall of the martial arts path. It happens. When you realize it, focus on adding it back to your life. It isn’t easy but it is worth it.