There is an interesting but more importantly very valid thread on the Core Concepts forum right now entitled “Reasons vs Excuses”.
When I first saw the title I mistakenly jumped to the conclusion that it would be a thread about finding motivation to train and such. Turns out it isn't at all, it covers the common problem of people wanting to train the things they want, or how they want rather than what's actually important or the far higher percentage necessity for what's required when all's said and done, addressed objectively without all the “cool” reasons that mean very little in reality.
Before I continue, here's a link to the thread as its well worth a read entirely independently of this article. Perhaps boil the kettle and read it after the following with a coffee...
Now, finding the motivation to train or the reason(s) to train has never been something I have ever really struggled with. The bottom line is I'm one of these people that just generally enjoys my training and so I don't need to constantly remind myself to get to the gym for whatever it is I need to be doing, bag work, C.V., weights etc. The thing is I purposefully do remind myself why I need to be doing so, if I don't mentally kick my own arse to train hard and improve/refine what I'm doing then I'll be joining the ranks of the water bottle clutching, logo stamped free gym towel sporting Jacuzzi dwellers. That on it's on scares me sh**less.......
This brings me on to one of the main points, I have to ensure that mentally I try and improve and at the very least, train hard. How do I instil this? For me personally the bulk of what I try and utilise is fear, the fear of being beaten, looking bad, letting myself down, letting others down, not making the grade etc. And why not? We are always hearing in the combative scene how we should be prepared and such, and I suppose you can't argue with that although some do tend to take things a bit far.
However, the chances of me actually being in a truly life threatening situation are thankfully extremely slim, chances of me being attacked by a gang or robbed at knifepoint are somewhat remote as well. The possibility of me getting injured in a violent altercation is not something I'm overly concerned about as it's not very likely at all; especially since I moved to a somewhat quieter part of the country.
But I still train hard; I still try and learn more and I still push myself every session every time. I'm pretty blessed really as I don't really have to put myself through all this hassle for the reasons I stated previously and countless more if the truth be told. Unlike guys out there that have no choice - the sort that the “Tactical” sections of the industry like to imitate with their “Daily Carry” webbing pouch, combats, torches and emergency escape route in case it goes code red during Eastenders or whatever.
The guys that have no choice, they are, and can be deployed on operational duties around the world or tasked with stuff as a direct result of a politicians/governments decision. They have to be fit, capable, knowledgeable and “good to go” daily or the result of them not being so, could create or leave some fairly serious consequences. Way worse than most of us will ever have the burden to bear if we start slacking off on our training, in whatever shape or form it takes.
Here's the part where I was going to outline some of the stuff I do mentally to “kick my arse” and dig deep when need be during training. I was even going to outline some NLP techniques I use, most of which I have been using for years but I now have a sort of streamlined formula for them - how to use visualisation, reframing, anchoring and such like, but I'm not going to. “Thank F**k for that” I hear you all sigh.....
What I think is better is that I'm going to tell you about a very good friend of mine. I have known the guy for about 12 years now, we met through biking and have been mates ever since. To be brutally honest if it wasn't for bad luck this guy would have no luck, perhaps we all know somebody similar I don't know.
Very long story short: he was hit by some myopic clown in a van years ago and had his back broken in three places. This has basically snowballed and he is now on crutches and enough painkillers and sedatives every two hours to floor a rhino. The only thing that keeps him conscious is the constant flow of coffee and his undying love for a full fat Marlboro...
The last two things are for humorous purposes but I'm sure he would agree they play a part, what really keeps this guy going is his absolute refusal to give in and is still determined to do as much as possible when he should really be bed ridden. Getting dressed, shaving, making tea etc are obviously very painful to say the least but as he always says, “I'm doing it because next time someone might not be there to do it for me.” F**k me, being awake is painful for the guy but still not once have I heard him moan or make an excuse not to do something for himself.
His condition is unlikely to get better, he knows this, by the way he is also partially paralysed down one side and he suffers seizures on occasion leaving him unable to speak and in pain for periods of time afterwards. Imagine having to deal with that sh*t every day and still refusing to give in and put yourself through more pain just to continue to be as self sufficient as possible? He doesn't have a choice; he gets on with it and faces a harder training session by midday than most of us would have in a week’s training combined. Mentally and physically.
I'm quite sure Stuart would love to be able to make the conscious decision that he doesn't really have to train today, he will train twice as hard next week, he has a bit of a cold, he has the latest strike bezel torch or whatever. But he does, because he has to, what's the alternative? Faced with the alternative, how committed do you think you might be to not making excuses to go to the gym, research stuff a bit more, develop something new and so on?
It's easy to find an excuse not to work hard to get better at something and personally I couldn't care less about that attitude....unless you happen to be the sort of person that's always talking about the latest system, technique, DVD, instructor and what you’re going to do and/or become. Or constantly asking me about how to get big or lean after telling me you used to go to the gym and you’re currently in front of me on your 8th Stella. And let's be honest, this whole combative/self protection/RBSD subject should be treated seriously should it not or there is little or no point in pretending to address what you see as the threat however it may manifest itself.
Despite the physical barriers and constant pain Stuart is doing a bit of research and training himself ( this summer he is hoping to beat a world record) to such an extent he has created an outfit called “Raspberry Racing” (raspberry ripple = cripple); speaks volumes doesn't it?
The record he hopes to break involves him on a high powered superbike riding at approximately 180mph; the previous record was 162mph I believe. No big deal really until I tell you that as a result of his seizures the he is 100% blind!
Anyone still finding excuses to not get up and go to the gym; eat correctly for that physique you have always wanted; perfect that right cross or even turn up consistently to that class every week? Or is it still too much hassle, too sore, you’re tired......Next time you’re making that excuse have a think about my mate having to get up and make another coffee to keep himself awake as he organises and plans the next stage of this little Sunday ride on his bike.
Alternatively you may be one of the people that have no choice; you have to be “good to go” and that's an approach I don't think anyone wouldn't benefit from in their training. Perhaps try and adopt that very approach through whatever means you find works; witnessing my mates drive and resolve certainly shames me into pushing that bit harder. I'm fortunate enough that I have the luxury of being able to do just that.
Never forget that all of a sudden you might just find yourself in a situation when you suddenly need to be fit for purpose. All the YouTube videos, DVD’s and pontificating suddenly won't be worth a stuff, obviously. A situation I kind of found myself in a few days ago when the bastard announced that I was going to be one of two riders either side of him linked by intercom to guide the lunatic down the runway.........
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