Food For Thought

I would like to get you to give you something to think about.... 

I hope this inspires you as it has me.

It is an excerpt from "The Man In The Arena" Speech By Theodore Roosevelt at the Sorbonne Paris, France April 23, 1910.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man
stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.  The credit
belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and
sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and
again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does
actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions;
who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the
triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while
daring greatly, so that his place shall never be...

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Consistency … or put other ways … constancy, regularity, evenness, steadiness, stability, equilibrium, dependability, reliability.

I have noticed an alarming trend in many martial artists.  I want to make sure we in the Thru The Fire Training Organization avoid the same trap. 

As people make the metaphorical journey through the skill acquisition steps (Learn,
Practice, Master, Functionalize, Maintain) there is a temptation to attempt to bypass the hard steps and continue to revel in the easy ones.  Everybody enjoys the first time we learn a new skill or technique.  It’s fun!  We feel like we are growing because we have learned something new!

Yeah! (hear my sarcasm?)

We even enjoy practicing it for a little while….then the work begins and it doesn’t seem like fun anymore.  This is where many people lose focus and attempt to find “fun” again by going out and learning new techniques... again.


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Intentional Process

As you surely know by now, one of the most consistent sayings I repeat in training
sessions is, “Be intentional in your training.”  I thought it might be helpful to discuss
briefly what I mean by that in hopes to stimulate your internal learning processes as well as to invite discussions on the subject.

To me, the “Intentional Process” is made up of a series of concepts.  I will briefly discuss three of these ideas which I believe are certainly some of the most important.  Those being: Intentionality, Focus, and Expression.

Intentionality – While training (especially solo training) you must seek to be in precise control of every minute part of your body and every degree of your movement.  This is certainly part of the “self-perfection” we so gallantly speak about, and yet I see very little self perfecting going on in the JKD/Kali world at large.

In many ways, your ability to refine your skill...

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Longevity … or length of life, life span, lifetime; durability, endurance, resilience, strength, robustness.

In the mid 90's I was living in Minneapolis studying at university and training at Rick Fayeʼs MKG.  Because I was a student, I didn't usually have a lot of money to spend on training.  Knowing this, Rick was good enough to allow me to clean the gym in exchange for not paying monthly dues.  I loved this arrangement, and spent A LOT of time in the gym 5 and 6 days a week.  “Gym Rat” was a good descriptor to fit me at that time. 

During this time I suffered an injury to my lower back which caused me to not be
able to train for a period of weeks.  When I had gotten through the worst of the injury I went back to the gym to pick up my training.  As I met with some of my training partners I found out to my dismay that they had learned many new techniques while I was gone.  I now felt as though I...

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