Hard Work Beats Talent

‘Hard work beats talent when talent refuses to work hard’ Talent is a gift, skills are learned and when combined with hard work that is where the magic happens. We have that saying painted on our walls because it is truth. The mechanics of kicking, punching, knees, elbows, takedowns, submissions, etc… are all skills that are won through hard work, repetition and continual practice. Skills affect your growth as a martial artist just as talent does. If your technical skills are sharpened through hard work you can be very good, maybe even great! However, we have seen countless Academy members with no special talent and average mechanics become some of our best students and even successful competitors.

Talent and skill are important to becoming a great martial artist, or a great anything. However, they are not the most important elements to that success. We have many high ranking students, competitors in BJJ, MMA and Muay Thai, and instructors who are not gifted with natural talent nor have achieved technical perfection. So what is the most important factor when it comes to achievement? It’s called a strong work ethic.

Remember, ‘Practice Makes Habit’, so make a strong work ethic your habit.

What is a strong work ethic? It is the ability to consistently do the work at your highest level no matter what your circumstances are. In other words, no matter what happens, no matter what outside struggles you may have, you are still able to get in and bring all the talent and skill you have to every class, practice or training session. A strong work ethic is simply you doing your best every chance you get with everything you do.

A strong work ethic is a learned skill. Work ethic has nothing to do with genetics, natural talent or whatever you want to call it. It is developed the exact same way any of your technical skills are. If you don’t have a strong work ethic it simply means you haven’t ‘trained’ it enough yet. Anyone can develop a strong work ethic when they decide to put it into practice. 

Remember, ‘Practice Makes Habit’, so make a strong work ethic your habit.

Creating the habit to work hard starts with simple steps. First and foremost, you have to decide to work hard…it is a choice. Next, you must create a schedule and stick to it. Consistency is key! Stay disciplined, come to class and do your best. Do that every class, week after week, making a habit of pushing yourself and let your hard work speak for itself.

Coaches Corner: A Warriors Opinion


Life is a struggle for survival, for success and to be the best that you can be. Life is a battle, a personal ‘no holds barred’ ring fight; however, it doesn’t need to be this way. We don’t have to go through life kicking, screaming and pissed off at everything. In all of us there is a warrior. Notice I said warrior, not a fighter. 


A warrior is calculated, cunning and ready, a consistent, persistent, creative and hard working individual who does not give up when trouble arises. A warrior learns from everything he/she can – the good, the bad and the ugly. A warrior is guided by principles and driven by beliefs. The warrior dedicates to absolute competence. Are you warrior material? Of course we all are; however, it takes some longer than others to take the bull by the horns and start kicking some butt.

What motivates you? When I teach and train, the primary motivating factor that drives me is the quest to find my limits, or those that I’m teaching – and then go past them. I don’t try to find how little I can do to get by, that gets you hurt. Instead, I become the “creative and hard working individual” and push myself, physically and mentally. In doing this, I continually learn where my current limits are and ways in which I can surpass them.

The only true way to find your limits and discover new things about yourself is to simply go for it. Experience is the ultimate teacher. Don’t put limitations on yourself based on opinions, doubt or fear. In my experience, I have found that nearly every limitation I have was created in my head. Through years of training in gymnastics, wrestling, martial arts, competitive ring fighting I have had to constantly look at my own personal limitations. And through doing this I have found that there is almost no realistic goal that is impossible to achieve, unless I have made it that way in my mind.

If I work hard, push through barriers,Motivation_AWarriorsOpinion become creative and daring, and push forward one step at a time I find that I am able to do whatever I set out to do. And for me the hard work, the creativity and daring, the planning and then seeing through the plan is my motivation. And once I have achieved a goal, another goal is put in its place, even as simple as improving on what I have just accomplished.

Now it is your turn to figure out what motivates you, and then activate it.

The little failures others call “defeat”

What is defeat? A definition I found most effective is when the word is broken down into its two root words: de, in Latin means “to go from,” and feat, an English word meaning “accomplishment.” In my athletic career and personal training regime, there were many “accomplishments” that I had to “go from” temporarily. I was derailed, not destroyed. I was bruised, not broken. I may have lost a battle, but I lived to fight another day.

One thing I hate about what outsiders see as defeat is the implication of loss; the defeated have been beaten down and overcome. We see this most blatantly in ring fighting where the crowd views a defeated fighter as “beaten”and “lost”. They criticize and say how the fighter should have done this or that; even say how they could have done better. When they themselves are ”those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.” They understand nothing about the preparation: the physical, mental and emotional battle that happens; before, during and after the actual “experience.” The “experience” that is worth a 1,000 hours of training, that is real world and in real-time, has no substitute. In the warriors mind, the training has been a great learning experience.


To a warrior, defeat is a temporary condition that will motivate them to push a little harder, look a little deeper, plan and prepare a little smarter; in the end, will enable them to bash future obstacles out of the way. If you stop before all your little “defeats,” you will never overcome all of your internal limitations. You are all in your own battle, your own training “ring fight.” Some days there may be some accomplishments that you will have to go away from. This is where you regroup, kick yourself in the butt and go for it again. If you continue to train and push forward long enough, and refuse to give up, you will be able to overcome your self-imposed limitations,and reach your goals. Your personal victories may not put you in the lime light. If you continue to push yourself to the best of your ability, and overcome the obstacles in your way, you will be a winner.

The Bottom Line
If your ultimate goal is to be the best that you can be in your career, personal life and/or training, you have got to be: tougher, more motivated, and more focused than anybody and any obstacle that might be in your way. Your goals must be as high as the stars and you must be willing to get down and dirty doing the work that victory demands. You must knock out laziness, weakness, complacency and self-imposed limitations. A warrior starts every new day with vigor and optimism, and hits their training with joy and disciplined devotion. To succeed, you must accept the plain and simple truth – Life is a battle, a war, if you want to win you have to give it all you can.

Remember: Good, Better, Best – Never Let It Rest.