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Thread: Just Show Up

  1. #1

    Just Show Up

    I posted this on my blog yesterday but thought I would post it here (I don't assume everyone on P-F avidly reads everything I write!) because the concept is important to me. While I publicly spend the most time talking about actual fighting, I am passionate about getting people to just be more capable in some way. So this is a meditation on a conclusion that after a lot of years in I have arrived at. I hope someone finds it useful.



    When I started my Martial Arts/Self-defense odyssey some 40 years ago, I was obsessed with getting better and I thought the main way to do so was train a lot and with a lot of instructors. Just find the best teachers, and do whatever it takes to be able to train with them. As a ridiculously poor college student, I was scrimping pennies and selling blood and plasma to get enough money to make monthly trips to southern California to train with top people for an entire weekend, from Friday night to late Sunday afternoon. Then when I got back, my life revolved around blocking out time to train and practice what I learned, and even to teach. I passed up going to parties at times, or seeing cool local bands like the Gin Blossoms at local clubs, or even ticking off women I was dating who could not understand why I could not meet them at the bar on Tuesday night because I had a three hour session of sparring and hitting the thai pads. I even quit my part time job at Kentucky Fried Chicken, where I had worked for four years and could write my own schedule, because it was starting to interfere with my workouts.

    Then after a bit of maturity and seasoning by life, I realized that pathway was not available or even applicable to most people, myself included. Getting married, having kids, having to work to make money and keep a roof over my family’s head or food on the table tended to take needed time and energy away from training. So I began to realize that the way to long term success had more to do with consistency, and the idea that just putting time in and punching the clock allowed you to make that trip down mastery while staying in the real world. If all you could do was go to the gym once a week, then go to the gym once a week no matter what, and put in 100% effort. And that would keep you moving down the path. It might take you far longer to get “good” than your buddy who goes to the gym five days a week, but who cares? His journey is his, and your journey is yours. The important thing is to keep going.

    Now, I still think this plan is correct, but as I continue down this road, I realized it lacks some nuance. The part I think I fell down conceptually on is the effort aspect. While putting in 100% is ideal, the fact is that life has a tendency to get in the way. After a really tough day at your job, with clients yelling at you, and your boss riding your posterior, and worrying about how your kid is doing in school, and why your wife has seemed so distant the past few weeks, can you truly put in that full effort? Of course not, it is impossible for almost anyone.

    So I have come to the conclusion that the only realistic way to get better at almost anything is this – JUST SHOW UP. Go and show up at the gym, or the golf course, or pick up that musical instrument, or get to the shooting range, and do the best you can. If one day the best you can muster is just going through the motions, fine. Don’t let that impact the effort to go to the next session. Again, just show up. Put in the maximum effort that you can muster, and keep at it. You might be going through a long plateau or valley where it seems like you will never get better or have total focus, but that day will come AS LONG AS YOU KEEP SHOWING UP. The day you don’t show up is the only day of failure. And more importantly, each day you miss makes it easier to get knocked off that journey to mastery.

    This is not an excuse to be lazy. It is not a get out of jail free card to excuse you from putting in the work. Not at all. You are still trying as hard as you can, but you accept that some days the best you can do is 20% effort. Keep plugging away, and you will improve in time. Don’t quit.
    For info about training or to contact me:
    Immediate Action Combatives

  2. #2
    Miss Manners
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    In the desert, looking for water.
    As a student, teacher, and school counselor, I fully agree with you. The single greatest indicator of student success is whether or not they consistently show up over time.

  3. #3
    Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    Michigan
    It is true of Scouting as well. If you want to advance and make your path to Eagle you must "Show Up"... No Scout does it on his own; they must have the Troop to show leadership to and take leadership from. With all the other draws on their time teen age Scouts find it increasingly difficult to "find the time" but in the end it is worth it. I was never an Eagle Scout, I didn't find the time; but I raised one! I made sure he "found the time".

  4. #4
    Site Supporter RJ's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Tampa FL
    Thanks Cecil.

    I appreciate your taking the time to post your thoughts.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    No one can pass through life, any more than he can pass through a bit of country, without leaving tracks behind, and those tracks may often be helpful to those coming after him in finding their way. --Robert Baden-Powell USPSA#A92555

  5. #5
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    DFW, TX
    This has motivated me to start thinking about maybe one day actually using the treadmill in my home.

  6. #6
    Member cor_man257's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Florida
    I think you may under estimate the number of folks whi do read everything you write.

    Thought provoking. Thanks.

    -Cory

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by cor_man257 View Post
    I think you may under estimate the number of folks whi do read everything you write.

    Thought provoking. Thanks.

    -Cory

    I appreciate that. Thank you.
    For info about training or to contact me:
    Immediate Action Combatives

  8. #8
    Site Supporter That Guy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    In a country other than USA.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cecil Burch View Post
    JUST SHOW UP. Go and show up at the gym, or the golf course, or pick up that musical instrument, or get to the shooting range, and do the best you can.
    I managed to not blow off doing a cardio workout today because of your post. It wasn't the greatest workout of all times, but I did get something done. So, great post! I'll try to keep what you wrote in mind in the future, as well.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by That Guy View Post
    I managed to not blow off doing a cardio workout today because of your post. It wasn't the greatest workout of all times, but I did get something done. So, great post! I'll try to keep what you wrote in mind in the future, as well.
    Truly awesome to hear. Great job!

    If I could write down all the sub par workouts I have done, there would be no bandwidth available for the rest of the forum. I did no-gi today in Competition class on my lunch break from work. There is a reason almost all good no-gi guys tend to be young (under 35) because it requires a lot of speed and movement. So needless to say I got worked over. But I was still there, and I made the young guns work their asses off. Not great, but a win for me because it would have been easy to just avoid it altogether. And dealing with a family medical issue recently has taken a lot of energy so my cardio workouts the past few weeks have been nothing but placeholders. No big deal. The good ones will come.
    For info about training or to contact me:
    Immediate Action Combatives

  10. #10
    Trivial Matter Expert Sidheshooter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    PacNW
    Quote Originally Posted by Cecil Burch View Post

    If I could write down all the sub par workouts I have done....
    Man, on Wednesday evening, my wife (also a musician) and I experienced one of the worst train wreck rehearsals we’ve had in recent adult memory—I mean a real chow show, because we were completely wiped out from the day, the week, taxes, what have you. Hair-pulling frustration, but we still got some key things done that will really yield dividends down the road when we need them, even if the rehearsal was as much fun as a root canal during an audit.

    So, yeah. I’m with you, and I totally dig your writing on such topics.
    "The evidence is all around us—the paroxysms of inchoate, infantile rage suffered by those who have turned fallible politicians into saviors and devils, godlike avatars of Good versus Evil."
    -Camille Paglia

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