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Start With The Hard Stuff And Commit

Start With The Hard Stuff And Commit


We all have likely had a day or two when we didn’t really feel like training.  

For some, this may be often, while for others, Jiu Jitsu may be a much larger part of their lives. I, like I assume many others have as well, have been on a roller coaster over the years when it comes to my training.  I have gone through spurts where I was able to train several times per week while other weeks it was a struggle to get to a single class.  The question is why? Why do we allow ourselves to be pulled away from something we claim to be committed to?

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I certainly can’t speak for everyone, but I’d venture to say regardless of how long you’ve been training, you likely see some benefits well beyond the self defense and sport functions of Jiu Jitsu.  For me, my time on the mats forces me to empty my brain of the never ending to do list, the stresses of work and or home life and anything else that may be clouding my brain and causing stress.

On the mats, I can’t worry about the report that’s due tomorrow, I have to worry about getting choked.  Being on the mats forces me to be present. I’ve never left the academy wishing I didn’t train that day. Every single time I leave happier, less stressed, and thankful for such a great place to train an amazing martial art.

If the value of training is so obvious, why is it so easy to get off course?  Excuses. We’ve all been there, whether it be in Jiu Jitsu, or another area of life.  It’s easy to find ways out of the things our brain determines are hard. It’s been a long week.  You already trained this week, you deserve a day to relax. You’re so busy, take today off. In the words of Jocko Willink “LIES… They’re all LIES”.  

I often find myself using work, and how “busy” I am as an obstacle for training. One of the most impactful things someone said to me has been “everyone’s busy, everyone has their own stuff going on, you’re not special”.  We all want to think we are special, we are busier, working harder, traveling more, studying harder, whatever it is, we think we are the only ones doing it on that level. It’s just not usually the case. There’s a million motivational memes out there all focused on the fact that we all have 24 hours in a day, how will you use yours?

Excuses are lies, how can we protect ourselves from ourselves?  Start with asking people around you to hold you accountable and do the same for them.  I know every single Monday without fail I’m going to get a text that says “Training?”. There are Monday’s where I’m excited and ready to get after it, and other Mondays where I know if I respond with anything other than “absolutely” I’m going to have to answer follow up questions that I know I don’t have valid answers to.  Build consistency by holding your team accountable and having them do the same. Next, commit early.

We run a very early 530AM open mat a few days a week at the academy where I train. We’ve found posting in our team Facebook group and asking people to comment on the post and commit to showing up has increased attendance. No one has ever said they didn’t enjoy the early morning training but committing to getting up the night before is hard.  It makes it easier when you feel the sense of accountability. Your team is expecting you to be there, so you need to show up. Additionally, start with the hard stuff. I don’t know about you, but my day gets increasingly more demanding as the day goes on. When I can get my training in early in the morning, it’s not only easier to make time for, but it makes my entire day better.

But I travel for work…  

This was by far the biggest lie I allowed myself to believe when I started in a new role in my company.  I travel about fifty to sixty percent of the time. Being away from my academy I allowed myself to slip out of the accountability of training and found excuses to not train at other academies.  Whether it was fear of the unknown, laziness, or something else, I always seemed to find an excuse why I didn’t make it to train. Traveling for work doesn’t need to be a hindrance on your training.  In fact, it can be quite the asset.

Depending on where you are traveling, there are likely multiple academies nearby that will allow you to train for the day or week for a small mat fee. Simply plan ahead, call the academy and ask if they allow this and what their process is.  Training at other academies forces you to meet new people, expand your network, and in my opinion, forces you to level up in your training because you aren’t in your comfort zone anymore. You likely can’t do the warm up without thinking about it.

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You can’t partner with the same person you always partner with.  You can’t train live with the same people you always work with. You’re forced into a different environment, with possibly a different pace, a different style, different games. Whether you are traveling for business or pleasure, I can confidently say there is value in training at a nearby academy.

In addition to this I have found that planning my travel more carefully can allow me to make it to class, and fly out after, or fly home late one night in order to make it to class the next day.  

The bottom line is it comes down to your will to make it happen. Every time I find myself using travel as an excuse, I think about the posts I see from Tom DeBlass. It seems every other picture he’s on plane going to teach a seminar or going to support his team, yet he still finds time to train (see late night shirtless post workout selfies for proof).

There’s hope.  Create a plan, commit to the plan and train when you can, and where you can.  It won't always be easy, but it will always be worth it. When you slip up and get off course, don’t let that be the beginning of the end, just get back on course.

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