Sifu's Blog

Here is a simple blog-port where our instructors' blogs may appear.   Blogs may appear at other locations, online, but will either be linked to or from here, ideally.  Enjoy!

Self Motivation

Dec., 2012

SELF MOTIVATION

How motivated are you, on a day-to-day basis?  What moves you?  When you set a goal for yourself, how do you keep yourself activated in its pursuit?  All of these questions pertain to something that is germane to the very fabric of personal success in life.  So, how does one get, learn or maintain self-motivation? 



Well, let me start by saying that the old saying is never more true, here, as it is in other things, when it states "A journey of a thousand steps begins with but one."   Of course, I paraphrased it, but in most philosophical strains, it happens to be a common thread.  Usually, a person has to first decide what they want to accomplish, and with some level of clarity about it.  In other words:  a goal must have specific details in order for the mind to really grasp it.  Once that grasp is in place, it sets us up with the many possibilities for actually reaching said goal. 



That takes us to the next step (and the next, ad nausea), which is the steering along the path to that ultimate goal.  Here is where most people meet with resistance, both internally and externally, but that is the greatest benefit to setting such a goal:  the growth that one has along the way to its achievement.  But this is also one of the hardest elements for us to overcome, because we are often mentally incapable of maintaining such focus, which causes our "end result" to lose its concrete qualities, and we often settle for less.  Thus, our growth is stunted, and we begin to see less satisfaction in our lives.  After all, the mind can be tricked, but this loss of motivation toward the ultimate goal fragments our motivation, since our subconscious mind knows it is an incomplete picture. 



There are solutions to this conundrum, and many paths on which to travel toward its resolution.  For instance, martial arts training has many benefits for many people, and yet in all my years training and teaching martial arts, seldom do people complete the training.  It takes a certain mentality to become a "Master" that many do not possess.  That said, many people start training so that they can gain other, more attainable benefits, such as:  better stress management, increased focus and mental discipline, improved health, or just to be able to protect themselves.  These do not require that you become a "Master of Martial Arts", and so it would not benefit them to edit their goals, to that end. 



In life, as in martial arts, it is wise for us to decide for ourselves and WITHIN ourselves, which goals are truly for us.  The right goals will get a person motivated.  The right methods will ensure that a person does not misdirect his or her energies toward the wrong path, and as "life happens", those right methods would help one to correct such inevitable wrong turns along the way to that goal.



What are YOUR goals?  Are you certain that you are still on the path to achieving them, or has life, love and the pursuit of happiness caused you to lose precise focus?   It is important to ask these questions, often, so that you may gauge where you are, in relation to your goals.  I would wager that you will find that your level of motivation is pretty closely tied to your focus on the real goals in your life.



-- C. Eggerson

Taking Stock

Dec., 2012

TAKING STOCK OF SUCCESS - 4 SIMPLE STEPS

I just recently wrote a blog about Self-Motivation, and as we come into another New Year (and the Annual Resolution bonanza of human spirit), it is important that we really understand what will make the next annum a more successful and fruitful one for us, individually.  One of the best ways I can think of is by taking stock of success, as it stands.



Perhaps you set a goal for 2012, and you started off like gangbusters, only to dwindle when the tide of Life came back in.  With all that has happened over the past year (seasons changed, presidents did not, financial upheavals continued, etc.), it is difficult to stay on target without NEEDING a mental break.  That break is when the work really begins to take root.



You see, when you stop your momentum, you actually encounter some of the inertia that you had left behind as the Calendar turned over to 2012.  It is nothing new; it happens EVERY YEAR, for most of us.  It is a reality that must be faced, and the good news is that it can be dealt with, successfully.  That is the whole point, after all:  Success.



So, the question that must be on your mind is:  "HOW?"

Well, in that blog about Self-Motivation, I mentioned that the path of Success often takes a turn or two, in no uncertain terms.  When the "forks in the road" happen, we are usually forced to grow, in some way or another.  As a martial arts instructor, I find appreciation of this element to be an invaluable tool of learning to better myself, and so I try to impart it to all of my students. 



Here is a key factor that will allow you to navigate with proper focus:



TAKE STOCK OF YOUR SUCCESSES.

1.  If you have not already done so, write down your goal(s). 
2.  Per goal, list every thing that you have done toward accomplishment of the goal.
3.  Regularly, repeat steps 1 & 2. 
4.  When you find yourself waning in motivation, take a look at this list, and Ask Yourself ONE QUESTION:  Since I have done this, already, How can I make this list LONGER?



As time goes by, you will probably notice that the list gets stronger and stronger.  What you have done in step number 2 is enlisted the subconscious mind to help your conscious mind refocus on the actual goal.  Each of these things is a success unto itself, and so, a viable strand in the weave that comprises your ultimate goal.  And in step number 4, you have reconnected your focus with precision.



Taking Stock of your Successes will free you from the annual drudgery that is New Years Resolutions, and set you in continuous motion toward living a life of success.  Try it, and see.  Feel free to share your experiences with me, as you move forward to achieve your goals.



Finally, a Stock that never depreciates!



-- C. Eggerson

Doing "You"

Dec., 2012

BLOG #03 -  How to REALLY "Do You!" in 2013

If you have been in communication with anyone about anything of a person nature, you have probably heard someone spout off their intent on following Sinatra's mantra ("I Did It, My Way…") in some form or other.  The most current form of it is the phrase "Doing 'Me'" and it usually comes about when someone is unsatisfied with something or someone that has hindered them from being their "best" in life, love & the pursuits of happiness, etc.  But it's normally just a clever thing to say, rather than an actual personal statement.  How can I say that?  Well, how is it EVER possible to be "doing YOU" when you are emulating someone else's style, philosophy, or other obviously socially-tinted leanings.



As you probably know, by now, I am a martial artist of many years, and I am considered an eternal student.  That is to say that I keep myself continually open to new training and understanding.  That said, one of the things that always comes up is some form of testing, whether in the way of technique application and realism (i.e. does it work for me?), or for some it may be about getting to a particular rank or status, for examples.   In either case, you find that it is the "human element" that creates viability of an art.  Very often, you see the teacher's movements within the students', but the EACH student has a different flavor of the same style or art. 



In other words, it is the individual's chemistry with the art that creates something truly special.  It is that person's "Doing Himself", which is borne of his or her abilities, background, history and desire, combined.  This goes a long way in creating an internal environment (mental) in which he may excel at performing his art.  This is where art imitates life, and vice-versa.



Whether your focus is on being a better person, a stronger athlete, a more healthy individual or just being able to lead a better lifestyle, your ability to "recognize yourself" is where your ability to excel begins.  Once you set the right environment for yourself to mentally appreciate in, your foundation becomes firm enough to hold you up.  Without that focus, we often feel as if Life is a road of quicksand, and although it is not yet deep enough to swallow us, it causes considerable delay in reaching happiness and fulfillment.



Now that we have explored some of the implications, let's look at a few simple steps toward that path:



1.  Explore Your Goal
Figure out what you want out of a given situation, really narrowing it down to see if it is actually what you want, or just similar to what you want.



2.  Check Your Movement
Decide if, in your activity, you are settling for something or actually moving toward that desired end result.  List your actions and really scrutinize yourself.  No one else is as suited to do this for you AS YOU ARE.  If it is not working for you, decide how much you can afford to eliminate, which will alleviate some of the strains you may be feeling, as a result.



3.  See Your Way
Respect that other's way is for them, and that your way is as valid.  This is how you really begin to firm up your own perspective, and where you are actually able to claim your own style or way.  It doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing situation.  Just know that it has its place in the grand scheme of things that is "Life." 



Remember that Life is full of other people's "breadcrumbs", but if you are a bird, it's just a meal.  Don't follow them into the traps they may be walking into, blindly.



-- C. Eggerson

Self-Appreciation

Jan., 2013

BLOG #04 -  Gym Membership - $0,  Self-Appreciation - Priceless


Alright, so you have already started the year off, and probably even gotten a membership at the local gym (complete with your very own Drill Sargeant) to boot.  Good for you.  What I am going to write about, today, is something they cannot give you:  the ability to wake up working out.


I could write about the particular muscle groups that will be affected, or the diet that must accompany the work ethic, but you have seen and heard much of it, no doubt.  I could also tell you about the importance of a daily regiment that allows you to build a level of consistency, if for no other reason than because it will help you to overcome the hardest part in the equation:  Inertia.


Instead, I am going to simple give you a simple concept to grow on:  Do things that can be done while you do the things you ALREADY DO.  Once you have attached, or mentally "linked", the work to the habits you already have, you might find that it's not as hard as you once thought to get into and stay in shape.


How does this work?  Well, I am glad you thought to ask (assuming you did just that.)  My answer is this:  When you get up in the morning, there are certain things you do, automatically, like stretch and yawn, brush your teeth, handle your hygiene (please tell me you handle your hygiene, regularly.. if not, add it to the next part of the equation, for ALL our sakes!) Jokes, aside, those things that are normal for you, after YEAR upon YEAR of doing them, are your CORE habits.  That is to say:  they are a part of YOUR lifestyle, and won't likely change, while you are of your right mind.  


Now, the second part of the equation is to determine what you can do toward your physical health, while you are carrying out those primary habits.  I mean, it may be something as simple as working in a few trunk twists as soon as you have pulled the first stretch out of yourself.  That's working your core, your joints, and getting the blood flowing (cardio at its bare minimum), and doesn't take but a moment or two to do.  While you are brushing your teeth, you could be stretching your legs, using any of several methodologies.  That's a good two minutes of stretch that helps sculpt and maintain muscle tone, etc.  Do you get where this is going?  YOU HAVE NOT EVEN GOTTEN DRESSED, yet, and already you have done more for your fitness than you could do with sporatic visits to a gym.  Imagine doing this for YEARS.  


I will not go into specific exercises, this time, but I can tell you from my own personal experience that it WORKS!  I am living proof of it.  Your body is fully equipped, and the greatest fitness coach you will ever have is GRAVITY.  USE it.  "It Don't Cost Ya' Nothin'!" 


What I will do, here, is give you a few steps to devising your ultimate SELF-GYM...   


1.  Don't get another piece of equipment that you will barely use, and call it a home gym.  It will become a dust holder.


2.  If you have equipment, and you cannot use it for what it was originally meant to do, repurpose it for whatever training you CAN motivate yourself to do.  It's YOURS... Use it however you want to (just use it, safely & wisely).. or give it away.


3.  Now that that is out of the way, don't bother getting a gym membership for the sake of something you won't do.  If you do, DO IT WITH A BUDDY, so that you can motivate eachother.  It's easy to avoid a trainer:  just don't go to the gym.  But a buddy spends REAL life with you, so it's not as easy to shirk from your promise of self-improvement.


Now, to the meat:   
4.  Think about your morning routine.  List as many things as you normally do, in the order that you do them.


5. List a few exercises that will target your areas of physical challenge (midsection, thighs, or whatever).  To figure this out, just talk to people, get a book, or get online.  There is no lack of information available, in this regard.


6.  Take the time to compare these two lists, and mesh them to suit you.  The overlap of your normal activity, peppered with your target activities, makes it easier to swallow... and to keep it going.


That's it. 


I may do another blog in video or pictorial format to show some of my daily routine, which has evolved over the years of my martial arts training, but holds true to my personal style of training.  It is both simple and minimally obtrusive to my daily life.  I always tell my students that this is where "the Trickle effect" has such torrentious benefits.  


As with any workout plan, I must suggest that you exercise responsibility and wisdom.  Be sure to consult your physician, if you have any questions about whether an exercise program is suitable for you.


My best in this new year to you all.  Be well.



-- C. Eggerson