Obey The Laws Of Nature

There are Laws of Nature that govern all of us. The more you understand and follow these natural laws the more successful you will be. When I was in 8th grade, I decided I wanted to be a better athlete and student. So, I started to do extra training outside of practice. It was nothing crazy at first, just getting up before school and running 3 miles, doing push ups, sit ups and stretching. The training was not the difficult part: having the discipline to get up day after day was the battle.

Eventually, the routine became a normal part of my life. I knew what I wanted: to be a better gymnast and wrestler. I wanted it bad. Once I acknowledged what I really wanted, I knew getting up and doing extra work was essential. Doing more work and doing it everyday was what all great athletes did. If great athletes did it, I was going to do it too. I started to understand that there were common denominators that all top athletes and students followed. Only later did I find out about how this was part of the Laws of Nature.

The Law of Action

The first ‘Law of Nature’ is pretty simple: you need to take action towards what you want in order to get it. It is often doing the simple things that make the biggest influence in our lives. We have to do a few simple things consistently to see improvement. When I got up 40 minutes earlier, I started to see improvement. That motivated me to stay after practice and do a few extra reps. Overtime, the numbers went up. I started to do the same thing with my school work and my grades went up! Do you really want to be better at something? Do you want to be in better shape? Do you want to look more fit? Do you want to get that promotion? Do you want to….? Once you know what you want you must follow the Law of Action…. ACT NOW! Start simple and small, do something extra to be better at what you want and make it consistent. Little by little, a little becomes a lot!

The Law of Cause and Effect

The Law of Cause and Effect simply says that things don’t just happen coincidentally. Everything happens in your life for a reason, no matter if you see how or why it happened. The Law of Cause and Effect can also be related to the concept of ‘you reap what you sow’, ‘what goes around comes around’…karma…whatever you want to call it, you get what you give. The more I started to create training routines in my life, the better athlete I became. The more I studied and asked for help with things I didn’t get, the better my grades became. I am sure in your own life there are plenty of examples you can find where you see the Law of Cause and Effect. Now, this works both ways, positively and negatively. If you have things happening that you do not want to happen, you have to find the ‘cause’ and start to replace it with an ‘action’ that will change it. Look at your life right now and be honest, are there areas that are working well? Are there areas that are not going the way you want? Now look for the root cause. What are you doing that is causing it to either be good or less than you want. Once you find the cause you have to go back to the Law of Action and get busy doing something that is going to change for the better what you want to change. Take charge of your life one simple small act at a time.

Be Persistent

The best way out is always through.” 

― Robert Frost

For as long as I can remember I have been about the struggle.  When it came to training and pushing myself I didn’t think of it as a struggle. I find meaning in struggle and hard work.  Without a doubt there were many days when it was tough. A battle as much with myself as with the hard training we were doing. Through athletics and martial arts I have developed a mentality that enabled me to continue to push myself and be persistent. The habit of sticking with something until it is complete. Being persistent has enabled me to get through most everything that has ever been thrown at me.  As martial artists, we are fighters, combat athletes and by our very nature… is to be persistent.

I am not sure what made me want to be an athlete and a martial artist , but I have figured out a few ‘hacks’ along the way.  Just so you know, I feel that hard work and persistence are two of the biggest ‘hacks’ to reaching your potential.  That being said, here are a few ways you can become more persistent in your life.

  1. When taking on anything the number one thing is, never stop attacking it.  Whether it is a task that needs to get done, a goal you want to achieve or a problem that you have to deal with, have the attack mentality.  Even if you are regrouping, trying to figure out the next best way to go, it is with an attack mentality.  The task isn’t going to take care of itself. Real goals will keep nagging you. Problems are not going to go away…you have to attack them until they are taken care of.
  2. My motto has always been, “It’s always too soon to quit.” Never Give Up the Fight!  If something is important to you, if it needs to get done, or if others are counting on you, you can’t quit, you can’t give up, sorry that is not an option.  No matter how hard something is you have to figure out a way to finish.  Hey, no one said it had to be perfect and pretty, but if you start something, finish it.  One of the statements I have used is, “Better never begin, once begun, better finish.”  Bottom line, if I didn’t want to do something that I didn’t need to do, I didn’t start.  However, if I started something that I had to do, said I’d do, or wanted to do, I would not stop until it was done.  That mentality has served me well, both in making decisions on what I am willing to do and following through on what needs to get done.  
  3. Do not let circumstances defeat you.  Life happens to everyone We are all going to experience good and bad times, health and sickness, happiness and sadness, good luck and bad luck. We are all going to have circumstances that are going to have the ability to derail you, but do not allow them to defeat you.  I look at everything as a part of life, even accidents and tragedies.  I have had my fair share of accidents, failures, injuries, illness, losses, personal tragedies, even life threatening cancers. But, we are martial artists, fighters, warriors and ready and willing to take on what life decides to throw at us.  When it happens I will take it on, never stop attacking and Never Give Up the Fight!

It is not going to be easy, worthwhile things never are.  You are going to have to be persistent…especially with yourself!  Once you begin to build routines and positive habits in your life you will find your ability to be persistent grow.  Once you know what you have to do and what you want to do, then you have to knuckle up and do it.  As Robert Frost stated, “The best way out is always through.”  You are a fighter, a combat athlete, a martial artist, you attack, you never quit or give up, and  you won’t be defeated by the circumstances of our life.  Be persistent and stand your ground!

Training, the Heart of the Martial Arts

The martial arts have been part of my life for 43 years. From the beginning, I had friends that trained with me, but I spent a good deal of time with myself. Both are important to your development in martial arts and almost everything you do. The most successful that reach their potential and make the greatest strides, hold training as the heart of martial arts life. The ones that push themselves to higher levels and are more consistent have steady training partners along the journey.  Consistent training over time will accelerate your growth and make training more fun.

It is important to know that everyone has talents. At the beginning, we are all unsure how to develop our new skills and talents to reach our full potential. To become the ‘good, better, best’ that you can requires consistent training – consistency is king!   Start where you are, start with small deliberate steps, but be consistent.  Watch techniques, training methods, skills and drills being taught with focus and mindfulness. Keep the image of your instructor doing the skill as you start performing the repetitions with your partner. Practice by yourself in front of the mirror, on the heavy bag, or grab a partner and take 5 – 10 minutes to drill back and forth.  You can also watch the skills being performed over and over with some intense focus. A great source is TeamAcademyCoaches.com to watch the techniques of the month.  You can watch matches, fights, training, and techniques. Watch them over and over until you start to form a mental blueprint. Picture the movement, body mechanics, position and structure. Finally, focus on your body performing the same skills.

Once you begin to feel more comfortable with the technique, it is time to up your training. Keep in mind, ‘Technique is everything.’ You want to drill with precision and sharpen your technique.  Quality is more important than quantity.  ‘Repetition is the mother of skill, but discipline is your Daddy.’  You want to get your reps in but, you need to be specific, detailed and disciplined with those reps.  , it takes discipline to show up and do the reps necessary to reach your potential.  One of the best ways to be more disciplined is to have a solid training partner that shows up.

A training partner that shows up ready to work is important to keep you accountable. They will also give you feedback and make training more fun. Your instructors, top competitors, and top students all do consistent training outside of class with consistent training partners. Pick someone you like to work with and then, “Think like a gardener, work like a carpenter.” It is important to remember that skills grow over time and you have to water, weed and cultivate your skill like a gardener.  You need to plan and prepare your training to build a strong foundation. Connect your skills and techniques together like a carpenter building a beautiful house. ‘Training is the heart of the martial arts lifestyle.’ Training over time with great training partners is where the magic happens.

Energy

Who doesn’t want a high level of energy, happiness, and joy. Who doesn’t want to be more alert, engaged, fully present and alive? We all do! Energy and vitality, health and well being are all at the top of my life goals. Having more energy alone will make you more optimistic and positive: you are going to be more patient, productive, and more happy person. More energy benefits everyone in your life, because it is such an important part of being the best that you can be. I am going to have a series of articles breaking down some of the best physiological practices used by the highest performing people in the world.

Taking care of yourself should be your highest priority. Being a lifelong athlete and martial artist fitness has been a huge part of my life. In the last few years I have dedicated myself to increasing the fitness of my brain, body and breathing. In each article I am going to focus on one best practice for your Brain, Body and Breathing.

The brain is your body’s priority and requires a lot of energy to run the body. oOne of the most important things we can do is sleep 7+ hours a night. There is tons of research on the importance of sleep. Here’s what I did to sleep 7+ hours, increase my energy, focus and productivity.

  • I started going to sleep 30 – 50 minutes earlier. Over time adding 3 hours more sleep.
  • My room is completely blacked out. Blackout curtains and all light sources covered or removed. I also have a nice padded eye mask. Any light seems to wake me, so I take no chances.
  • I do not look at any screen 50 minutes before I go to bed. No phones, computers or TV. Instead I will read or listen to fiction, write and/or listen to relaxing music.
  • I lowered the temperature of my house to 67 degrees.
  • I try not to eat 3 hours before I go to bed.
  • I go to bed and wake up at the same time as much as possible. I haven’t heard my alarm in my house in a long time.
  • I do not drink coffee or any caffeinated drink after 2 pm. Caffeine has a half life of 8 hours and I do not need any caffeine after my morning mushroom coffee.


Regarding our body, we need to make sure we drink a lot of water all throughout the day. You should drink clean water immediately after you wake up. You usually haven’t had any water for 7+ hours so it is necessary to drink when you wake up. Throughout the day it is important to drink at least every hour. If you sweat a lot you have to replace that water and continue to drink every hour. , I do not drink sodas only kombucha or vinegar drinks besides water. Most people do not drink enough water, so…drink a lot more water.

Breathing is often taken for granted. When we sleep we breathe deeply yet, when we are awake most people do not breathe as well. One of the easiest ways to get a jolt of energy that will pick you up is to bounce and breathe. Close your eyes, make a light bounce up and down in place, like you are doing basic footwork, and breathe. You should inhale completely and exhale audibly.

All of these ideas are connected. As we investigate more best high performing practices. You will find that you too will start to increase your energy, focus, health, happiness, productivity, & well being.

Bring up Your Energy

Without a doubt most people want to have more energy. They want to feel enthusiastic about things to come and excited about what they are doing. Drive, motivation, excitement, energy and total focus are all important to finding personal success. There are many videos, books, podcasts, seminars, and courses. Each giving you the information to be your best. Yet, it all starts with your physical health and vibrancy,  your mental attitude and emotional well-being. One of the most important ways to affect all the above is to focus on what is going to give you more ENERGY! Here are 6 simple ways to boost your energy by having great health and vitality. 

1. Get 7+ hours of sleep a night. I use to feel this was a joke. Now, as a habit I get 7 hours of sleep. Set a sleep schedule and stick to it. No screens 30-90 minutes before bed. Make sure there is no light anywhere in your room. Set your room temp at 65-69 degrees. Try not to eat 2-3 hours before bed. It took me about 4 months to sleep 7 hours a night

2. Drink 4-5 liters of water a day. The first thing you should do in the morning is drink a big glass of water. Stay hydrated throughout the day. Get a liter container and fill it up and drink it 4-5 times a day, or a 1 gallon jug full of water and drink it down.

3. 2-3 healthy meals a day. The one plate rule at each meal; only have one plate of food. For me I now eat 80% greens and 20% meat and carbs. Of course this is an individual thing. But, if you are serious about your diet, go see a nutritionist. Get a blood and saliva check and see what you allergic to, deficient in and recommendations for you.

4. 5-6 workouts a week. Having a consistent Martial Arts class schedule will take care of 3-4 of those workouts. You should do some kind of strength training, endurance work and mobility training on top of that.

5. Meditate 1-2 times a day. Meditation does not have to be any specific kind but, find something that works for you. There are apps such as Headspace that you can get to help calm down your brain and release tension.

6. While working take a break every 50 minutes. Step away from your desk and rejuvenate yourself.  Such as getting water, doing some light exercise, deep breathing, take a short walk. Anything that will allow you to refocus and regenerate, to invest some energy into the next 50 minutes of work. I have started focusing on these 6 ways to generate more energy. I have increased my health and well-being. I have increased my physical, mental and emotional vibrancy. Start making these 6 areas a habit. You will have more enthusiasm for upcoming tasks.  You will have more motivation and increase your health and energy.

Opera Non Verba, Deeds Not Words…..Just Do It!

What Is Hard Work

Tkickboxing-minneapolis-minnesotahere can be different interpretations of what hard work is.  First, who’s asking? A professional or former college athlete? A high school athlete that hasn’t done much for 10 years? A person who has never done sports but has excelled in academics?  Is it me asking as a man in his 50’s that at one time pushed my limits on a daily basis? Bottom line, what hard work is for one person may seem crazy to another. Vince Lombardi said, “The dictionary is the only place success comes before work.  Hard work is the price we must all pay for success. I think we can accomplish anything if we are willing to pay the price.” You need to know what you want before you will be willing to work hard for it. Everyone has different goals in the martial arts; get in shape, relieve stress, build confidence, make friends and have fun, compete, become a champion….and everyone has a little of the above at varying levels.

Until you understand what hard work is and accept it as part of the process, you are likely not going to achieve your goals.  Being your best is about wanting it enough to do what is required and more. You have to be willing to pay the price of commitment, with consistency and discipline; you have to form new healthy habits if you are going to succeed in reaching your goals.  The key to reaching your own version of success means you have to accept what it will take. After that, you have to develop the habit of doing what you know you should and what is necessary. To be your best you must have the will to prepare to win the day.

“The dictionary is the only place success comes before work.  Hard work is the price we must all pay for success. I think we can accomplish anything if we are willing to pay the price.”

 

Most people think they have the will to be great at some level.  However, many do not acknowledge the price that must be paid. At the beginning levels the cost is minimal. You have to begin by creating some consistent training habits.  As you improve that price goes up. If you know why you are training, you will be willing to do the work. A martial artist knows that victories are won in the classroom and through training with consistency.  It is by making a choice to get up and get into The Academy to train on a consistent basis that little victories are won. Your body and mind become accustomed to your routine and you will eventually start to ask more of yourself.  By knowing why you want to train and then following through over time, you become ever closer to becoming that confident, disciplined and hardworking individual you have always dreamed you could be.

Opera Non Verba, Deeds Not Words…..Just Do It!

Academy History – Learn Our Story – #1 Martial Arts in MN

Don’t Fear The Process

In junior high and high school I was a gymnast.  In the beginning you learn how to simply swing back and forth, learning how to use your body to create more and more momentum.

Once you become comfortable with swinging you then learn how to do a kip. This requires some technique and timing.  On the outside, it looks very simple. However, there are many little movements that must be coordinated and timed to complete the move.  Eventually, the goal is to kip up and cast as high as you can so as to let your body drop and allow your body to swing completely around the bar.  Of course, the bar is 9 feet off the ground and what looks so effortless from the outside, is not so easy.  No matter how many times you swing back and forth, at some point you are going to have cast as high as you can and let gravity work. Allowing the process to happen is always the toughest part. Why is it so tough to just let it happen -fear!
What ultimately allows a gymnast to allow their body to swing through the air around the bar is faith.  Eventually, you have to believe you are going to get all the way around.

We all get to that place when doing something for the first time where fear hangs out and you have to choose to move through it.

Most will never become a gymnast or have to swing entirely around a bar. But at some point you will have something in front of you, something new and scary, that you have to face and get over.  We all get to that place when doing something for the first time where fear hangs out and you have to choose to move through it.  Your first class, your first time sparring or rolling live, your first competition, the list goes on.…  Will you allow fear keep you from taking the next step? Will fear stop you from starting something new or will you have faith in the process, let yourself go and just have fun doing something totally new?

I can tell you I have done both. I have hesitated and even prevented myself from experiencing something new. On the other hand, I have ‘casted straight to handstand and let it rip.’ I have taken chances to do new things, meet new people, experience the curiosity and joy of being a complete beginner again.  What is it that prevents you from taking that swing?  Whenever you are at the cusp of doing something new and hesitate to jump, you must not let fear win.  Courage is not about the lack of fear; courage is about being afraid and doing it anyway.

Learning to trust the process will allow you to experience many things that will never be there if you allow fear to control you.  Learn to simply let go.  It’s something I wish I would have done it always throughout my life. Just like when I went for that first giant swing in gymnastics.  

Start doing those things you are putting off, that you may be afraid of, but will benefit your life….you’ll be happy you did.

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.

Greg Nelson on High Level Coaching

Listen and learn Greg’s views on coaching high level athletes.