I have long-since developed a habit of keeping training journals. I keep various training journals – I have training journals for my seminars, in which I lay out my seminar plan - and I amend, add to or subtract from it, during the actual seminar. This allows me to better plan the next seminar for my return visit; I can go over the notes I made on the last subject matter we covered and how the students coped with it. I also keep training journals for some of my private students – it helps me keep track of what we have done, where they are in the development of their game, what they need to cover in the future – etc. And, I keep notes on my own training – things I need to look at in the future – random ideas, thoughts, new techniques – and novel approaches to teaching that I might want to try out.
I still have old ‘personal training journals’ that date back to the mid-80’s. I rarely refer back to them though, as the main benefit was to be had in the note-taking itself. When we take notes, or scribble and draw – we have to process information differently in our mind. Before we describe something in words, we need to think about it, to go over the ‘process’ in our minds-eye – and it is this value that get from keeping a journal. Of course if my wife reads this – she will have a strong argument for clearing out my bookshelf. Yikes.
Seriously though, I encourage everyone to keep a training journal. It doesn't have to be elaborate – it may only consist of scribbling down a few words chosen to trigger a memory – it can be highly descriptive – it can incorporate drawings, stick-figures – it doesn’t really matter. Regardless of the approach you take – I guarantee it will help you in some way. Journal –up today:
Best wishes: JBW
Look around – carefully; and you will notice that everything is changing, all of the time. Raindrops are falling, each second the world is different, unique, as it was never before; each leaf moving on each tree, constructing a new and unique world each and every second. So too are we, cells are degenerating, regenerating; our brains think new and novel thoughts, each and every second. On the mat, as we roll with our friends, each moment is different than the last, each grip is slightly different, pressures ebb and flow, the fight unfolds differently this time than it did last time.
When people tell me they are bored – I tell them to open their eyes: JBW
Fear ... can be a crippling thing. It can be like having a monkey on your back that just won't go away. Most of my readers may not be able to relate to this post - as 'fear' may manifest only as an occasional disturbance in an otherwise comparatively pleasant existence - but for those who live with fear, 'day in day out' - life can seem very difficult if not completely pointless, at times. But that monkey can be tamed - and even befriended - with some considerable effort and a willingness to change for the better. I have had the opportunity to teach quite a number of people, who have been in some way or the other, partially paralysed by the fear that sits on their back. The first step in the taming of the monkey, is to acknowledge that you are not alone, others have been through the same thing, and have come out better and stronger for the experience. Start small, embrace something unfamiliar, something outside of your comfort zone - go through it - experience it, marinate in it - feel the feelings - then ask yourself afterward - did it kill you? yes - that's right, you are still here - and more than likely, none the worse for wear. JBW
“What lies around the corner, no one can know. Whether we accept it or not, life is, and always will be, an exploratory journey. As is the case with all exploration, if the unfolding trek doesn’t succeed in killing us, it will almost certainly provide us with instruction. If we want to learn things that others do not know, we need to be willing to do the things that other people do not do.”
- Excerpt from the Rogue Black Belt series.
My travels this year, both domestic and international have highlighted to me that the world is a little more uncertain than perhaps it has been during the decade just gone. To keep it all in perspective though, the world has pretty much always been an uncertain place – for the larger part of man’s history, we have never known what has awaited us around the corner; in short, we are generally short-sighted and have a very poor record of being able to predict the future. It is only when we have lived through a few months, or years of relative stability that we convince ourselves that this is the natural state of the world – when in fact, I do not believe it is. The world is a dynamic environment that is full of surprises and unexpected turns, some pleasant, others, not so. But what is it about us, as a species that has allowed us to flourish and do so well? For my money, it is largely our ability to adapt to rapid change that really sets us apart from other species on the planet. Life is uncertain, we can of course, make plans and have some idea of how our futures might unfold but in embracing our natural talent for adaptation we can more easily roll with the punches that life will no doubt throw our way. Both on and off the mat; we need to embrace this special talent.
The unfolding adventure that is our life should be exciting, instructive and always filled with a little uncertainty; the uncertainty is what makes it an adventure. As we live this adventure, we succeed, fail, learn, love and slowly gather our power. The way forward becomes a little less rocky and more full of possibility. As we learn to better know ourselves and better know the world, we equip ourselves more suitably for the unknown that is the future. - Excerpt from the Rogue Black Belt series.
I am often asked, particularly by beginners, for advice concerning the uncertainty and confusion they sometimes feel on the mat during their first year or so of training. Although it is true that this feeling of uncertainty, can to some extent be mitigated by designing a basic ‘game-plan’ that suits their particular physical and mental capabilities, it is this very feeling of uncertainty that is in itself highly instructive. It is good to experience a little uncertainty in our lives; as this builds and strengthens our ability to adapt and overcome; the last thing we want (if we want growth) is to have the same experience, day in, day out. Or as my good friend Geoff Thompson likes to say – “There is no growth in comfort’. How very true – thanks Geoff: JBW
Day two of our holiday in Aitutaki (in the Cook Islands), my boy Felix was impaled by a Stonefish; a highly venomous species of fish that inhabits much of the pacific region. Apparently, it is about the most painful thing one can endure – in rare cases, people die from the venom. So Melissa and I were fairly stressed as we had to sit back and watch him endure hours of pain – before a combination of local remedies and modern medicine brought things under control. He is almost back to normal now – some 6 days later – but then today, being unable to swim after the stonefish injury, he was wading around the edge of the lagoon (super frustrated) when he forgot he had his beloved Ipod in his pocket, and he walked into the water again, submerging it and killing it completely. Needless to say, he was heartbroken. He has had his share of both physical and emotional pain this past week – but this is exactly how we learn. We experience; and we learn. These are not the kind of things you can learn from listening to others or from reading books; this is the kind of stuff you can only learn by experience. Life instructs: JBW