Sometimes More Is Better

It seems that in this super busy, fast-paced world we live in many people are looking for the MED – minimum effective dose – for just about everything.  How can we train more efficiently?  How can we train smarter, not harder?  How little can I do to produce the effects I want? Quality over quantity, right?

Minimalist Training is all the rage. Mini-workouts to get it done fast and hard.  But with all this minimalist stuff going around, are we missing out on something?  Have we lost something in the exchange?  Is our abbreviated training just as effective or are we coming up short?

So What Are We Missing?

I train every day.  If you missed my detailed post on my Daily Personal Practice, see HERE.  Usually I allocate 40 minutes in the morning.  No more because I have other things to do and I need to get ready for work.  This morning however, everything just felt ON.  Really ON.  Really good.  I had this feeling that if I just kept going and pushed through for another 20 minutes beyond what I normally allocate, great things would happen.

But then the doubt and negative self talk creeped in…

I told myself I was done.  I had put in my time.  I had other things to do.  I had to get ready for work.  Time was up anyway.  I met my daily standard.  Why do more?  Wasn’t what I had done good enough?

And then it hit me.

What am I shooting for?  Am I looking for good enough?  Am I looking to just put in my time, punch a clock, and be on my way to the next item on my agenda?  What the hell am I actually training for?

It’s been said, quite eloquently I might add, that “Good is the enemy of Great.”  I do not train to be good enough.  I do not train to merely put in my time so I can check that box.  I train for nothing short of greatness.  I literally want to be awesome (and am not ashamed to admit it!).  I want to be the absolute best I can be.  I want to push it to the limit.  I want all that untapped potential to be tapped by the time I am done.  Screw good enough.  Screw mediocre.  Enough with the damn 80/20 rule already!


We all have to stay here til we go anyway.  Why not be great?

So guess what I did?  I put all the other shit I thought I had to do this morning on hold.  I spent more time.  I surpassed my MED by a lot.  And you know what?  I am much better for it.

It Will NOT Change

What is the one thing that has always been constant in every problem, every failure, every fight with a loved one, every argument, every challenge, every lost job, every lost relationship, every lost opportunity that you have ever encountered in your entire life?

What is this one thing that has been ubiquitous throughout all those times?  Can you guess?  Right.  It’s YOU!

You bring yourself to every new endeavor, every new relationship, every new opportunity.  Therefore, how can anything ever change when wherever you go, there you are?!  Simple.  For things to change, YOU must change.  For things to get better, YOU must become better.  That’s the only way.

It Will Not Change

The only thing you can ever control in this life is you.  Everything else is, and always will be, out of your control.  Everything else, regardless of your opinion or how you personally feel about it, will continue to go on exactly as it always has.  The sun will continue to set in the west whether it has your approval or not.  The day will follow night every time, all the time, no matter what your personal feelings on the subject.  Winter will be cold.  Summer will be hot.  Your opinion is neither asked for nor required.  You cannot change it.


So, do you want things to change in your life?  Are you waiting around for opportunity to knock on your door?  For it to all work out the way you want just because you think it should?  Waiting for things to change?  For circumstances to be more favorable?  For the timing to be right?  There is one guarantee I can make you right now if you are waiting for any of these things, I guarantee you will get old waiting!!

The one and only way to effect the change you want in your life is to create it yourself.  For anything at all to change for you, you must change.


25 Life Lessons from Martial Arts Practice

At 41 years old, I have now been training in the martial arts for over 30 years.  It does not seem like it’s been that long!  Some days I look at the huge expanse of knowledge and history that is real budo and feel dwarfed by its enormity.  Other days I feel like I have a really solid grasp on it.  But that’s the nature of the training.  As Hatsumi Soke has said on many occasions, “If you think you have it, you don’t…”  This is one of the many lessons learned through martial arts training.


I have always viewed my training in the martial arts as a way of training for life.  A kind of micro of the macro, if you will.  The lessons learned inside and outside the dojo form and shape us.  Many things are taught and learned (if you are paying attention) that transcend the narrow space of technique and apply broadly in your life.

As Musashi said, “From one thing, know ten thousand things.”


Here are 25 lessons I learned from martial arts that have prepared me for life:


  1. Fall down 7 times, get up 8.
  2. Persistence and perseverance alone make the difference.
  3. When going through hell, keep going!
  4. It may hurt badly, but it won’t kill you.
  5. Strength comes through adversity.
  6. Adversity shared among comrades binds you closer together.
  7. Confidence in all things!
  8. Roll with the punches to lessen the blow.
  9. No matter how fearsome an opponent you face, there is always a way to win.
  10. Technique alone is never enough to win.
  11. Strategy first. Tactic second. Technique last.
  12. If you face just one opponent and doubt yourself, you are outnumbered!
  13. Timing is everything.
  14. Sometimes half the battle is just showing up.
  15. Water, over time, will wear down rock.
  16. Awareness is fundamental!
  17. Hard, consistent training will always yield the best results.
  18. Sometimes training smarter exceeds training harder.
  19. Mastery is both effective AND efficient!
  20. Never flinch!
  21. Sometimes you get kicked in the groin – deal with it!
  22. After being punched in the face, many other situations are much less frightening.
  23. Successful training, like a successful life, must unite body, mind, and spirit to yield the greatest results.
  24. Becoming a completed human being (tatsujin) is more important than becoming a martial arts master.
  25. Seek out and eliminate your weak points!

What lessons have you learned?  How do you apply them to your life?

Should You Be Better?

Here’s a great life question for you to ponder today.  It’s really a simple question, yet quite profound.  It cuts to the heart of most every self-improvement philosophy out there.  Here it is:  “If you could be better, should you?”

If You Could Be Better, Should You?

  • If you could be better at your martial art, should you?
  • If you could be better at your sport, should you?
  • If you could be better at self-discipline, should you?
  • If you could be better at achieving your dreams, should you?
  • If you could be better at your job, should you?


  • If you could be a better person, should you?
  • If you could be a better spouse or significant other, should you?
  • If you could be a better parent, should you?
  • If you could be a better friend, should you?
  • If you could be better at taking advantage of opportunity, should you?
  • If you could be better at making a living, should you?
  • If you could be a better, Catholic, Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, whatever, should you?
  • If you could be better in any area of your life that matters to you, should you be better at it?

And if the answer is yes, then here’s a follow-up question for ya:

What Holds You Back?

What is standing in the way of your greatness?  What is holding you back from living your dreams? Where does your resistance lie?

The Secret to Motivation is ____________

A few weeks ago I sent a question out to my email list (HINT – if you haven’t signed up yet, subscribe on the right!) asking what topics they had questions about and wanted to see more blog posts on.  Several great questions and suggestions came back.  One that was repeated often was the question of motivation – “How do I motivate myself to train more?  How do you motivate yourself?”

Here’s my answer to both questions.


What are your thoughts?  Drop me some comments below!

2 pains

Imperfect Training for Injury Prevention

“All-round sports training must include the capability of coping with unexpected and sub-optimal conditions”

- Mel Siff, PHD author of Supertraining


In a recent post, Are You Practicing Wrong, I covered why I think the idea of “perfect practice” is utter nonsense when it comes to training yourself how to get really improve at pretty much any skill.  In this post, I’d like to take it a step further and talk about how crucial Imperfect Training is to your overall development as a warrior. [Read more...]

Can You Ever Be Strong Enough?

Whenever I meet with a potential new client at the gym, I always ask them 3 basic questions: Why are you here?  What are your goals?  What is it about yourself that you want to change/improve?  Invariably, they all say some semblance of the same thing…

“I want to lose x number of pounds”,

“I want to be healthier.”,

“My doctor wants me to lose weight.”,

“I need to get in shape”,

“I just want to tone.” (whatever that means!) [Read more...]

9 Steps to Creating Harmony in Your Life

1.  You Cannot Control What Happens

This first one is an essential principle.  If you can wrap your head around this one, the rest is easy (well, easier, anyway).  The basic premise is simple: you cannot control what happens to you.  The only thing you can ever control is YOUR reaction to it.  See my post on Where Do You Locate Your Control for more on this topic. [Read more...]

7 Ways to Jump Start Your Fitness Routine

You need to get back to the gym.  You know it.  I know it.  The question is, why aren’t you doing it?

You know you should workout.  You know you should upgrade your nutrition.  You know you should do more to support an active healthy lifestyle.  You know you should hire a trainer.  You know you should sign up for that yoga class.  But you don’t.  Why not?

You are, as Tony Robbins would say, should-ing all over yourself.  

Here’s a list of 7 strategies to help you get it together and turn that should into a must! [Read more...]

Paleo Oatmeal Recipe

My daughter, Caitlin originally turned me on to the idea of Paleo Oatmeal.  She made it for me one day last week and I was hooked!  It’s high in protein, good fats, slightly sweet, and tastes amazing.  As you will see, it’s not really oatmeal since Paleo doesn’t do grains, but the consistency has the look and feel of oatmeal.

Since last week we have been playing around with and tweaking the original recipe to our liking.  Here’s what we came up with: [Read more...]