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The dichotomy of generosity: Famine & Abundance.

The interesting thing about the most generous people is that they’re not always the ones we imagine to be in the best position to give; not always having the most money, time or tangible things. These people also never give with the expectation of gaining anything in return.

Generosity isn’t a transaction, it’s the selfless action of giving of yourself without the presence of ego or the expectation of reciprocation. This is the difference between a mindset of abundance or a mindset of famine. Continue reading “The dichotomy of generosity: Famine & Abundance.”

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The thin veneer of Civility

Civilitynoun; meaning formal politeness and courtesy in behavior or speech.

Civilization is a fairly modern concept in the bigger picture of human history. In roughly the last few thousand years, we have seen different iterations of cultures, civilizations and societies rise and fall like peaks above the clouds of dark ages and chaos.

It’s a thin veneer however, a fragile veil placed atop a creature that only the most terrifying of horror writers have attempted to describe- the human animal. Just below that veil lies a deeply potent creature; one that is  capable of enacting the most calculated of plans, the most gruesome of tortures and the most depraved of acts.

It’s not a far stretch to see our raw nature dancing in another’s eyes, even as you shake hands and meet eye to eye in civility. When we press- even just so slightly- that small candle light dancing in the darkness can become a raging firestorm. Continue reading “The thin veneer of Civility”

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Prepare for the worst, perform at your best- More from Plato, ft. the Diaz Brothers

I’ve been riding on the broad-shouldered one’s bandwagon this week big time. As a principle student of Socrates- arguably the most important ancient Greek philosopher of all- Plato’s lineage needs some serious hespec.

I can almost hear the regressive probing from Socrates that lead Plato to say:

“Courage is knowing what not to fear.”

Funnily enough, I didn’t initially hear this from our philosophical O.G’s (Original Greeks), but a different set of warrior monks of equally O.G status: The Diaz Brothers. In an interview, Nick & Nate explained how in any sport- specifically martial arts and fighting- you need to anticipate the worst possible outcome [being knocked out or choked out] before you are able to perform at your best.  Continue reading “Prepare for the worst, perform at your best- More from Plato, ft. the Diaz Brothers”

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Wasted potential- A word from Plato

It is a disgrace to grow old through sheer carelessness before seeing what manner of person you may become by developing your bodily strength and beauty to their highest limit.

Plato

The reason I love Plato so much is because not only is he historically one of the most influential philosophers in history, but the man himself was a wrestler of considerable merit. It was recorded that he stood atop the podium of the ancient Olympics twice as a young man.

I love this quote because it illustrates a fundamental truth when it comes to physical pursuits too; wasted potential is a disgrace, not a tragedy. We all have the potential to develop a strong mind and body within our lifetime, to choose not to reach this potential or to reach it is up to the individual. In saying that there is a choice for all to reach that potential, it isn’t a tragedy but simply a disgrace in having neglected the only vessel you have.

Plato understood that each of us have the power to reach that potential or to choose not to. The pursuit of a healthy body is a life long one, just as is the pursuit of a healthy mind & outlook.  Continue reading “Wasted potential- A word from Plato”

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Cut the excuses

The power of language is a funny thing. Whatever we choose to put into words also affects the way we view the world. You are either giving power to the excuses you make or the positive, constructive affirmations you declare. 

It’s important to cut the excuses out. Avoid complaining about your problems & making excuses; by articulating them you give them power and presence in your reality.

Everyone has problems, there are always countless excuses we can make to avoid doing the hard things that need to be done. The difference is whether you choose to dwell on them or allow them to govern your life. Cut them out.

An excuse is simply the permission we give ourselves to avoid the things we consider ‘too hard’.

Remember that next time you make any excuses, if you want to make positive changes in your, life stop yourself and cut them out.

Thanks for reading.

Oss.

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Advice for competition nerves: Assume that no one cares

One of the best pieces of advice I ever received about competition was to assume that no one cares about whether you win or lose. 

Sure, our close friends and families will always be invested in our success and failure. But this advice is more about keeping a healthy perspective about what you are about to undertake. Unless you are fighting against the highest level competitors or in some historic event the chances are that very few (if any) people are going to remember what happened, even simply a few days post the events.

When you start to gain a wider perspective, the gravity of the situation lessens. It’s no longer going to feel like life or death, you’re no longer going feel your heart beating out of your chest at 3am… you’re going to be able to put all of that pressure behind and perform at your best.

I remember being so hyped up in my first handful of competitions that I couldn’t even see straight, never mind execute any technique with any level of effectiveness. I would lie awake in the week leading up to a competition; mind racing, jaw clenching, muscles tensing… trying to visualize what was going to happen and how I would react for hours and hours. 

A friend of mine gave me this advice right before I stepped onto the competition mats on day and all of the noise in my mind faded a my perspective widened. That simple change in mentality has helped me to perform at my best, enjoy the process of competition prep and even the day of competition itself.

At the bottom line, this is simply a mindset that can help remove another distraction from the equation. Being able to remove any factors that contribute to the background noise in the lead up is worthwhile investing in if you hope to improve or put your best foot forward in a competitive setting.

Thanks for reading.

Oss.

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The Stoic mentality & Martial arts: The philosophy of serenity

The word ‘Stoic’ has come to describe those who endure without complaint. Despite the hardships or troubles that beset them; the stoic proceeds with a calmness & serenity despite.

This originally stems from ‘Stoicism’ which is a particular school of philosophical thought. Developed by the ancient Greeks, the school of Stoicism taught that knowledge could only be attained by living in harmony with fate and providence; facing all circumstances with an emotional indifference.

It doesn’t take much for us to see how this can translate as a heuristic by which we can navigate the highs and lows of our martial arts journey. Through the pain of injury, the reward that lies in progression (and the frustration in the lack thereof), the heady emotions of victory & loss, we need to find ways to manage the journey. Stoicism provides such a way.

I would like to explore how the Stoic mentality translates into martial arts. Continue reading “The Stoic mentality & Martial arts: The philosophy of serenity”

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Training when you’re tired: A lesson about fatigue.

General George S. Patton, was credited with having said: “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.” Even the most hardened and conditioned athletes & martial artists have their physical limits; once it’s reached, what is left? Technique and Tenacity.

Simulating the pressures of physical fatigue in training are crucial for developing a resilient athlete. It’s critical to test one’s will to stay in the fight after they are depleted and the precision of their technique after they can no longer rely on their physicality to solve the problem.

If the toughest conditions are not simulated in training, then an athlete will never be prepared for the worst case scenarios or toughest conditions of competition. Almost every athlete at the highest level of competition will readily state how the toughest rounds and toughest conditions they face are in the training room, not in the actual competition. Understanding this is crucial if you want to compete seriously at any level. If you aren’t pushing yourself to the limit in training, you will not be prepared in competition. 

Simply put, there is no substitute for tough training. Those who don’t take their preparation seriously will not be taken seriously by their peers or their opponents and will ultimately only display the holes in their preparation when pushed to the limit by better prepared opponents. If even the most hardened of athletes succumbs to the rigors of competition, it is nothing short of arrogance that permits an ill prepared athlete to assume that they will overcome conditions that they have never before confronted in training.  

There are no excuses and nowhere to hide in the pressure of athletic performance. It creates demand for tenacity and technical skill that is rarely called for in any other context of life.

Thanks for reading.

Oss.

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Dealing with difficult people: Advice from a Samurai

Rarely do skilled martial artists find themselves in situations that are anywhere near as stressful as combat or training; after all, everything seems a little dull after someone has tried to maim or strangle you.

However, the martial artist still needs to navigate a world of ‘challenging’ or difficult individuals. It is unavoidable for one to go about their day without interacting with others and, as such, is likely to run into a fair share of people who do not always possess the most nuanced of narratives about the world, themselves or others.

I’d like to explore this through the perspective of the honorable samurai Yamamoto Tsunemoto, retainer to Lord Nabeshima Mitsushige. Continue reading “Dealing with difficult people: Advice from a Samurai”

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“It’s here… It works.”

There’s something about an incorrectly tied belt that grates on my O.C.D. like nails on a chalk board.

Drilling with one of the newer students at the gym, I cast my eyes down to the nightmare knot tied around his waist, I roast him: “After we fix this sweep, we need to fix that belt my friend.”  

He laughs, “Hey, it’s here… It works.” 

We laugh, but isn’t that the truest metaphor of BJJ? As long as we can get to training, as long as we can work on our technique, nothing else matters. Continue reading ““It’s here… It works.””