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Build Discipline with Jiu Jitsu

Have you ever crammed for an exam? Cramming is a lack of preparation and discipline.

And mate, I was the king of cramming. I’m one of those guys who “got by”. Maybe I could have done better if I’d actually studied for more than the last week before an exam, but hey, here I am. No complaints.

Actually, I did a talk a while back about my education and I said (somewhat controversially) that if I could go back I would study LESS. I didn’t mean to dissuade the kids from academic pursuits, but I knew then as I know now that I wasn’t ever going to be studying accountancy or architecture, and what I meant was that I would have taken that study time and done more things that built my character.

Anyway, back to cramming. I said I was the king of it- WAS. Now I’m the king of preparation.

I know what I’m going to be teaching weeks out. I know what I want to achieve in the weight room in the next 6 weeks, and I have that plotted. If I compete, I have markers of where I want to be 6 weeks out, 4 weeks out, 2 weeks out. Before every training session I lay out my bag, Gi, tape, water, towel, rashguard.

Oh if my Ma could see me now!

She’d probably make me sit the Leaving Cert again. “Maybe this time!”

I built that discipline over time, and with conscious effort. Martial Arts taught me it. It’s one of the hidden lessons. You begin to look around you and see who is doing well, and who has achieved the most. You notice they have the same things in common. They are rarely the late ones. They’re never the ones who forgot their gear. They’re the ones who stay the course when the work is at it’s hardest, who resist the temptations of an easier path.

They’re the ones who get up and eat breakfast thinking of what they need to fuel training later, and drink water through the day, not with some vague idea of “its good for me”, but with the knowledge of “I’ll struggle later if I’m not hydrated”.

They’re the ones who don’t do 9 reps when it should be 10. They tape what needs to be taped before they step on the mat, and don’t remember it mid session.

They’re the ones who don’t get their head turned by the latest binge-watch.

And they’re the ones who don’t rely on their favourite partner coming to training to get a good session in.

It's a cliché, but they don’t make excuses.

And the good news, if you’re not there yet, you can get there. It’s as changeable and as trainable as any other skill.

See you on the mat,


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