Preparing for Battle is Preparing for Every Day Success
They say the true value of martial arts is in being able to take the lessons of battle into your everyday life. Tough fights expose you: strengths, weaknesses, and everything in between. Fight training camps can be just as revealing. Putting in 5-6 days a week of combat training, on top of everything else that occupies your life, is difficult to balance. Such preparation makes for a truly humbling experience, that can teach us many things about our growth outside of the gym. As a school teacher, these are 3 fight camp principles I try to embody in my everyday work, and share with the students I come across.
1) Embrace challenge: find reasons to endure struggle rather than avoid it
There are always a million reasons not to do something. Everyone has that one aspect of training that they are reluctant to engage in. For me personally, it’s always been roadwork. What’s important is to acknowledge your resistance to it, and purposefully push through it anyway. It’s about deliberately choosing fight over flight in a situation you find unpleasant or inconvenient. Many fighters, especially amateurs, are defeated mentally before they are defeated physically. By purposely seeking out and embracing challenge during training camp, you can be confident your mind will persevere should the fight take you past your comfort zone. Knowing that your preparation was full of moments where you chose to stand strong and endure, rather than walk away, is the ultimate benefit to your training.
Like training camp, just about every relationship or career will present conditions you’ll be reluctant to deal with. Actively embracing challenges will undoubtedly thicken your skin for future obstacles. Think of each day as training for tomorrow, and you'll be more willing to endure and overcome anything life throws your way.
2) Steel sharpens steel: the gift of giving rewards everyone involved
Surround yourself with strong and driven individuals. The sharper their skills and focus, the sharper you can become- and vice versa. More importantly: take the time to invest in the people around you. It’s easy to simply beat up that one guy or girl at the gym who isn’t nearly as skilled as you are. However, elevating them to the best of your ability is much more beneficial for both of you. It gives you a partner that you can trust, that understands you, and can become strong enough to push you to the next level. Investing in your team binds you together, providing everyone with an endless supply of steel to sharpen their skills with.
Expanding your network, being a mentor and searching for collaboration opportunities are options available in every field. It’s not only beneficial for your development, but incredibly rewarding. Life long friendships and a much more enjoyable day-to-day experience are worth it. I can say without hesitation that I've come to truly love and appreciate what I do more as I invest deeper into my students and the relationships with my co workers.
3) Stay current, stay curious: keep your eye on the game
The fight game is constantly evolving, as are the methods and tools for training. The collective IQ of the fight community is growing, and the field of sports science has made significant advancements. We can learn to use these changes and new tools to effectively reinforce our core values, and appeal to different needs. For example, we have even more ways to help activate and strengthen specific muscles, and a deeper understanding of how they can affect ring performance. We have more options for dealing with and training around injuries. The knowledge in nutrition is growing everyday, helping to create more efficient and energetic fighters. YouTube is now filled with (for better or for worse) breakdowns of various techniques. You don't have to utilize every single emerging resource, but being aware of what's out there is still advantageous.
In the field of education, the tools and strategies available to teachers have grown exponentially. The online “Prodigy” math game, Bitstrips, Khan Academy and Google Classroom are among the many resources becoming widely utilized in classrooms. Keeping up to date with emerging resources like these can be helpful for teachers in supporting and reinforcing the principles that are already being taught. Students that might otherwise not be engaged will have new ways to learn and become interested in school. We don't necessarily need to re invent our curriculum (though there is always room for change), but we can certainly support and deliver it in creative ways now more than ever. It’s not hard to keep up with the latest, no matter what your field is. Just checking out YouTube or the latest Ted talks can provide you with something to reinvigorate you. Stay current, stay curious, stay sharp.