How Pressure Can Be A Great Thing
If I asked a group, "How can you improve your skills?" a list of common answers would ensue.
- Train more
- Take more seminars
- Train more
- Work harder
- Find a new and/or different teacher
- Get a couple of training partners
- Train more
- Study some videos
- Train more
There are a probably a handful of other equally useful tips, all of which have value to one degree or another. Most surround the topic of "more training" which at the end of the day, really is the best suggestion of all.
Best for sure. Add one more to the list.
Want to improve your skills - add pressure.
Systema may be largely about relaxation and minimization of and precise use of effort. Truth. Yet learning of any sorts can accelerate when pressure is added.
Case in point.
This Saturday, Peter Carbone Sensei will be one of the teachers at the Okinawan/Russian Martial Arts seminar in Winter Garden, FL. He is an off-the-charts master. A "top 1-percenter" in the world of martial arts. People from around the globe come to train with him. He goes to Okinawa to teach Okinawans THEIR weapons. Yes. . . . that good.
Want to take a guess who the other instructor is?!
It is an honor to be included as the co-presenter. In fact, it is one of the biggest honors I have experienced in my now 34th year in martial arts. And a hell of a lot of pressure. At the top of the list is the pressure to perform on par with the master.
As such, I have undertaken a massive amount of preparation and training to be as ready as possible for this special occasion. In the process, my skill level has taken a nice leap forward on that Eternal Road of Training.
There is another aspect to this. Some who has more experience, talent, skills and history than yours truly is treating me like an equal. As such, I find myself, albeit uncomfortably, acting like one. Not in an egotistical fashion but as a teacher who is responsible for the safety of all attendees. As someone who has a burning desire to share a wealth of information from this incredible art that most people have not heard of. Most of all, to help each person find within themselves "the master" - the great part of them that exits beyond the self-imposed, self-limiting beliefs. In other words, I want to do for them what Carbone Sensei is doing for me.
Want to take the proverbial "quantum leap" with your training? And life? Find a near-impossible situation and throw yourself, dead smack in the middle of it, without any safety net.
I do not know how the seminar will go. What I do know is that many favorable things have come from this - overcoming fear, practicing courage, learning to prepare thoroughly and oh yes, getting a little better at the art that I love.
One more step along the path.
The Power of Commitment
It is clique, having been spoken of for hundreds if not thousands of years. "Do what you love." For some, it is a source of deep frustration. "How will I ever get paid doing what I really love?!" or "I have no idea what I love. . . "
For others, it has become a way of life. For me, I was a late bloomer, so to speak. I believed in the concept though applied it only now and again.
Now, it is a way of life, as much a part of the fabric of my being as anything else. And that is the key - going all in. 99.9999 is the same as zero. It is jet black OR pristine white and there is no gray area at all. You are IN or you are OUT.
Commitment is the key is any level of success and commitment is a harsh topic. It is pure, cold and clear cut. You cannot manipulate or bargain with it. You are either committed or not and there is no third option.
Martial arts of course, are no exception to this notion. In November of last year (2017), I committed to the notion of doing seminars in which I would get paid. Part 2: They would be done around the country.
I have done many local ones and when I was in the world of Acupuncture, I lectured in various states and countries, but not in maritlal arts.
Until today. Today, Peter Carbone Sensei, for whom I have the utmost respect, asked me to join in in taking a seminar on a national level.
Witness. . . the power of commitment.
Russian Martial Art SeminarS
Why teach one when there is always an opportunity to do 3. I am most happy to say that I will be a part of:
- Okinawan/Russian seminar on January 20.
- Progressive Arnis Winter Camp on February 9-11.
Both are run by outstanding organizations and all people involved are kind, skilled and rather outgoing. It is an honor to teach at both of these.
Updates to follow. . . .
Disney Marathon 2018
It started off a little rough and progressed to be one of the best races I have ever done.
Disney Marathon 2018 was by all accounts, a great success. I thoroughly enjoyed the sights, sounds and overall experience. It was eye opening, humbling and built an appreciation for my life as a whole.
The Training: The "new" approach I used for training was less long, slow miles and more high intensity repeats (800m, 1200m etc.) The end result was great until Mile 21.5 which I met the infamous "wall." On the flip side, the recovery has been quick. The time has been reduced by about 75%.
If you are interested in finishing an event, this training is for you. If you are interested in time, it is not.
Special notes: There were 2 people that "face planted" when they tripped over a reflector on the course. In 11 marathoners, these were firsts. I hope these are fine, particularly the 2nd person and he was bloodiest to a pulp.
Overall, I was thrilled with the results and more so, had a spectacular time!
WHY I DON'T RUN WITH A TIMING DEVICE
Every bib has the runner's number, name and a timing device. I always remove mine. It is out of the norm but it feels right to me.
Many years ago, I saw a video entitled "The Marathon Monks of Mount Hiai." It was about a group of Buddhist monks in Japan that ran a marathon a day for 8 years. In addition , they would do 80Ks in the middle and for the cherry-on-top moment, not eat, drink or sleep for 8 days. If they failed, they would commit ritual suicide. The purpose was to seek enlightenment.
This movie had a huge impact on me and my running. Though it was obviously quite extreme and went to a place that I was obviously not going to go, the essence was clear - run for a internal reason. From that moment, my running changed.
Yes, it is fun to get a medal and a tee-shirt. If this is why you are running or if you are just running for the time, it will always have a hollow ring to it. You may achieve your time but shortly thereafter, you will want to better it.
You may love the medal but eventually, you will want the "other" one, the one that is larger, more shiny, more updated.
The shirt is great now but eventually, it will fade and end up in a bin somewhere.
Externals all have a shelf life.
Internals are eternal.
As such, my mission during this marathon is simple - enjoy every second of it and find a way to help others along the journey. When this is "accomplished," the feelings coupled with the act of finishing a very, very long race lasts for a long time.
Why? Because it has lasting meaning. It may not be the Marathon Monks. Instead, it is better because it is mine. It is following my Tao and listening to what my heart is asking.
FIVE DAYS AND COUNTING
It is Tuesday and I am a mere 4 days away from my 11th marathon. After missing the past 3 years for a variety of reasons, I am looking forward to returning to an event that in the past, has proven itself to be life altering in a good way.
My training this year can only be described as "experimental." I eschewed the long, slogging miles in favor of a ton of track work, characterized by short, intense training. In other words, I did more 800 meter repeats than I can remember.
With only a couple more days, I feel odd. To be expected, I presume. That is the nature of an experiment. You never know how it will turn out. As such, this year's marathon feels more like a First versus an 11th.
Stay tuned. . . .