Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Monday, May 06, 2013

Budo and Self Discipline

Budo is supposed to enhance your life, not replace it. How many people do you know that train, train, train, train, train and have no life to speak of outside of the dojo?

Training for a specific event is a special situation, but generally speaking martial arts training is training for life. Sometimes you might focus on one thing and sometimes something else as is appropriate for the time and situation. In the long run your practice should be balanced.

According to where I track my own practice, I’ve now logged 160 consecutive days. I’ve accomplished this by waking up a little extra early every day and working out before I go to work (I’m also assisted by a couple of young dogs who are eager to start the day). I really don’t like getting up early, but I like training everyday a lot more than I dislike getting up.

Steven Pressfield is a well know author. He wrote The Legend of Bagger Vance, which was made into a movie; The Gate of Fire, which I hope will someday be a movie; and a host of others including the War of Art and Turning Pro, which are about actually doing something with your creative abilities. While he writes specifically about the business of writing, everything in those books could just as easily be applied to the study of martial arts.

Mr. Pressfield has an excellent website and blog. On that blog recently appeared an article by his associate, Shawn Coyne entitled “The Difference Between Self Discipline and Self Flaggelation.” Below is an excerpt. The full article may be read here.

The Difference Between Self-Discipline and Self-Flaggelation

By Shawn Coyne | Published: March 8, 2013

I have a difficult time determining whether or not my internal insistence that I bang out xxx number of words in a  day—no matter what!—falls within the realm of constructive self-discipline or destructive self-flagellation.

There’s no easy answer. The words don’t magically type themselves.

I asked Steve about this when I was in LA a couple weeks ago. He reminded me of his friend who trains thoroughbred horses. He wrote about him in TURNING PRO. What the trainer told Steve is that he never grinds the horses, making them finish a lap when they stop running. While he certainly has an agenda each day and he nudges them with encouragement to improve, once they get tired or bored, he takes them off the track. Tomorrow’s another day.

Self-discipline is simply having the nerve to sit down with a pile of construction paper or a laptop or a band saw every day at an appointed time and letting that little guy come out to play. If he gets fidgety after a while, let him go do something else.


Felicia said...

I just downloaded Lift! Thanks for the tip :-)

Rick Matz said...

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