Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Goals require Sacrifice

Mark Humphries, one of the seniors during my freshman year at Caltech, had one of those life changing heart-to-heart talks with me not too long before I made the decision to make my way towards UCLA.

I was having a hard time deciding between the rigors of CIT-level academia and having a more "well balanced" life, which at that time included spending more time pursuing my life-long love of martial arts. Humphries listened intently and said, "You can have it all, but you have to put 100% of yourself into EACH thing you're doing."

Now, you may be thinking that a Caltech grad should have a better grasp of mathematics than that, but he was dead right. Fast forward more than 15 years later to a martial arts academy in San Diego.

I'm listening to Prof. Roy Harris talk about skill sets in combat. "People want it all," Harris said. He continued:

"They want to be good at guard passing, they want to be good at throws, and they want to be good at boxing. I'm telling you that it's impossible. If you want to really own something, you have to focus COMPLETELY on it, almost obsessively. And when you do that, you're going to get some real improvement in that aspect of your game or your skill. But you're also going to sacrifice your level in other aspects. Your knife fighting may not be as fluid. Your kicking may suffer. But you have to know that THAT'S LIFE. You CAN'T have it all at the same time. It's a balancing act of what you want to sacrifice in order to have something else."

For me, that means setting EVERYTHING else martial arts wise aside for the next 2 months and focusing with absolute intensity on Olympic style TKD training and kettlebells.

For you, that might be as simple, but as profound, as sacrificing your own excuses to the discipline of getting up out of bed and coming out to train on a Sunday morning at 7am. Or just getting your arse out of your chair and doing sets of 10-20 swings between emails.

We CAN have it all, but we have to give 100% of ourselves in different directions at all times. Life is about intensity, about passion, about prioritizing, and about not confusing prioritizing with compromising.

Welcome to HARD STYLE... It's just what the doctor ordered!

4 comments:

stickeerice said...

well said and written my brotha!

Coach RJ said...

This is true. I'm preparing for my RKC. My bike time, yoga time, and running time has been greatly limited! You can't do it all. It's all worth it though--especially with the KBs because they are so corrective and healthy compared to other athletic activities that I have done...HARD style KBs that is!

Dr. Mark Cheng said...

Thank you for your backup, Brother & Coach.

People seem to want all the goodies without the grunge work. Life is a balance of actions (or inactions) and outcomes.

It's not uncommon to hear people whining and complaining about how a workout made them sore. BIG DEAL! Everyone and anyone who has to deal with a change in their physical activity patterns and intensity will likely have to deal with a little bit of soreness at the outset.

After yesterday's TKD training session and the calistenics, I'm sore today. I was starting to be sore last night before I did the 100 swings @ 32kg. But continuing to train and push the envelope within the bounds of intelligence is what takes us outside of our inertia and into improvement.

The deciding factor is HOW we individually decide to deal with that soreness, that extra budgeting of time, and that awareness of form on each rep of each exercise. With a bit of mindfulness and discipline, we can achieve heights that exceed even our own wildest dreams.

On tap for tonight, more swings & GTG pressing. 36kg strict military press is in my crosshairs!

Franz Snideman said...

Congrat's Mark on your DVD and manual project with Brett and Gray. Looks amazing!

Keep it rocking brother!!!

Best,

Franz