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Do what you love longer by remembering these simple ideas.

Updated: Aug 2, 2019

It makes me happy to see that about half of our adult class is over the age of forty-five. A fight club, we are not, but it got me thinking on how we can help keep our students healthy in their training for as long as possible. Being 48 myself, I know injuries and health issues are inevitable, but I'll do whatever it takes to stay healthy AND stay on the mat. Now I spend about twice as much time warming my muscles before technique because I am thinking about the long game.

Try to incorporate these ideas into your mindset and I bet you will stay in the game for as long as you want.

1. Focused- Once you establish your why, stay focused on it. My husband and I are own a martial arts school and our Why is to educate, inspire and create a community of health and wellness for everyone that walks through our door. (Go ahead and read Simon Sinek's, Start With Why- like now. Right now). We are focused on running a school that supports families and adult students. Everything we do stems from our why and our why keeps us focused. It is known that what you focus on in life is what is increased. If your karate why is to be able to protect yourself, then train like your life depends on it. If your why is to get fit, then train all the time, not just in class. Everyone's why is different, the point is to focus and practice with intentionality.

What you focus on in life is what is increased.

2. Food- Stay with me on this one. As a general guideline for what you put into your mouth- eat and drink only those things that will honor and help your body. Pizza? Not so much. Bread, pasta and cheesecake?- Not on a regular basis. And by not on a regular basis I mean less than once a month. Nutrition doesn't have to be complicated. If it doesn't grow- you probably shouldn't be eating it. Many autoimmune diseases are caused by a leaky gut, so take the time to learn how you can heal your gut and avoid inflammation. Working out everyday will not give you the health benefits you want unless it is supported by a diet of mainly whole foods that are nutrient dense. I am going to assume you are not just working out to look good (a happy byproduct :-) ) but for the long term health benefits.

3. Forget the ego- Our egos can hamper and limit our potential and growth. Try to be open to new experiences and feedback. Receive feedback with an open heart, if an instructor gives you their time, consider it a gift. Your Sensei knows from experience what works, so just be a sponge and soak information in. If you have only trained in one style and it isn't available to you, be open to trying something new, especially if the environment has a positive vibe. If you love Jiu-jitsu but can't find a supportive school then continue the search. Try a course online. My family and I have The Gracie Combatives and Bullyproof DVD sets as well as their Women Empowered courses. I highly recommend these as a foundation to your training, the details and information is of the same caliber as what you would receive in a private lesson.

Time is our most precious commodity. When someone gives you their time, consider it a gift.

**Another note on ego- For the dude or dudette that has to be perfect in everything you do: We all know you are the strongest and have the highest kicks out of anyone in the class, but here's the thing: we are a small pond. There is always going to be someone bigger, stronger and faster than you. How about you train the fundamentals, learn the principles and work on your weaknesses? Training your weaknesses may actually help you out in real life.

4. Fear controlled- Since reading Gavin Debecker's The Gift of Fear, I like to remind myself that fear is just false evidence appearing real. So what's the scary thing that's keeping you from moving forward? For me, the fear of getting hurt hampers my kumite and makes me hold back. I try to remember that an injury would be inconvenient for sure but it wouldn't be fatal.

So... would I rather,

a). Be a FULL ON participant in the arena.


b). Observe from the sidelines to avoid an unlikely injury.

Like Katniss Everdeen, I choose the arena.

5. Failure is feedback- I was recently listening to a homily by Father Mike Schmitz of Ascension Presents where he suggested a new way of framing how we think of failure. The fear of failure is a hot button topic and it interferes with us living our best lives. Father Schmitz explains that our failures are one step closer to achieving the result we want. Think of Thomas Edison- I use this example in our mat chats- It took him 1,000 tries to invent the lightbulb and when asked about his 999 prototypes, he said it took him 999 steps to get the result he desired. But watch out for the lie that everything you do has to be perfect. You never would have learned to ride that banana seat bike if you stopped trying because you wobbled too much. With focus and intention you will get to where you want to go. Each roll, kick, squat, and punch, gets you closer to the best version of yourself.

6. Fun- Everything worth doing should have an element of fun. We all have different ideas of fun. Karate and being active is my jam. If you don't enjoy whatever you are doing-why are you doing it? And if there are some elements of your dojo you don't love, see if you can't remedy it. Do you always get paired up with the one person that no one wants to work with? Find a way to work around being paired with the person who only thinks of themselves. I got this gold nugget from Episode 113 of the Gracie Jiu Jitsu Rocks podcast: be selective of your training partners.

Repeat after me WITH conviction, "I respect myself enough to not get wailed on every Monday, Wednesday and Friday evening." If your Sensei doesn't believe in self-preservation and your school mantra is "NO MERCY SIR!"-you need to think seriously about whether or not you want to spend your time and money at that non-fun dojo.

"No mercy sir!"

I hope this gives you some food for thought and GETS YOU IN THE ARENA TO STAY! If you liked it, please share it and leave a comment and let me know your thoughts.


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