Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Magic Formula

Human beings, for all our industrious nature and accomplishments, are inherently lazy.

We look for the easy way out. We hope there is a way to achieve our goals without having to work too hard at them. We hope, we pray, we beg...

The bad news is there is no secret formula.

Achieving our goals in life, martial arts or otherwise, always boils down to a question of willpower. How much willpower do we have? Can we stay the course through until the end?

How bad do we want it?
The same is true, of course, for changing our personal lives.

Many people cry and complain about being overweight, but refuse to apply their willpower to get the result, or take any action that would lead to achieving that goal (exercising more, drinking more water, etc.). They somehow think that there is a magic formula that they can follow that will give them the results without suffering and in record time. It is a neverending cycle of fasting and binging that actually is even worse than just maintaining the same eating habits.

Smoking is another one. Poeple try nicotine patches, nicotine gum, medicines, and hypnosis.

There is an addictive element to nicotine, I am not denying that. But this chemically addictive element is highly overplayed by smokers, who refuse to accept that application of willpower may be enough to break free. They say they are "trying to quit" for 30 years, until the problem is solved by lung cancer, heart attack, or other mortality.
Guro mentioned that if cigarettes killed you instantly no one would smoke.

The simple fact that it takes so long for you to die from smoking is why people forget how dangerous these "coffin nails" really are.
In our martial arts as well, we look for ways to cut corners.
We want to progress faster, to learn quicker, to promote and get our coveted black belt/black shirt/red sash/whatever.
To this, I can only say: HARD WORK IS THE ONLY WAY.

There is no subsititute for going to the school regularly and training.
There is no better way than integrating your training into your daily life.

The good news is, there is no magic formula.

That means that when you get better, it is always the result of your hard work. Be proud.

People who excel in martial arts demonstrate not only their physical skills, but also their willpower and commitment. They show the strength of their character and their courage to keep going on relentlessly. The years teach much the days never know.
Do not forget that even the term "Kung Fu" itself can be interpreted to mean "patient achievement" or "hard work". Thousands of years ago, the Chinese knew there was no shortcut or magic formula.
I am a firm believer in TRAINING SMART. That means using all the tools at our disposal to understand martial systems and apply what we learn in the most effective manner. This is efficiency and innovation at work - not a shortcut. I think seminars can be a great way to get tight focus on particular areas, but it is no substitute for regular training in the school.
It is the little actions we take that have the big effects in our lives.

Make sure your daily habits are good ones. Make little changes to improve them whenever and wherever you can.

By the way, Six Minute Abs, One Minute Manager, Learn French in one hour, etc. don't work. So don't bother. Save your money for the dojo and go as often as you can.

See you in class,

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