Friday, July 17, 2009


Bruce Lee's take on Simplicity

In JKD, one does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity.
Before I studied the art, a punch to me was just like a punch, a kick just like a kick. After I learned the art, a punch was no longer a punch, a kick no longer a kick. Now that I've understood the art, a punch is just like a punch, a kick just like a kick. The height of cultivation is really nothing special. It is merely simplicity; the ability to express the utmost with the minimum. It is the halfway cultivation that leads to ornamentation. Jeet Kune-Do is basically a sophisticated fighting style stripped to its essentials.
Art is the expression of the self. The more complicated and restricted the method, the less the opportunity for expression of one's original sense of freedom. Though they play an important role in the early stage, the techniques should not be too mechanical, complex or restrictive. If we cling blindly to them, we shall eventually become bound by their limitations. Remember, you are expressing the techniques and not doing the techniques. If somebody attacks you, your response is not Technique No.1, Stance No. 2, Section 4, Paragraph 5. Instead you simply move in like sound and echo, without any deliberation. It is as though when I call you, you answer me, or when I throw you something, you catch it. It's as simple as that - no fuss, no mess. In other words, when someone grabs you, punch him. To me a lot of this fancy stuff is not functional.
A martial artist who drills exclusively to a set pattern of combat is losing his freedom. He is actually becoming a slave to a choice pattern and feels that the pattern is the real thing. It leads to stagnation because the way of combat is never based on personal choice and fancies, but constantly changes from moment to moment, and the disappointed combatant will soon find out that his 'choice routine' lacks pliability. There must be a 'being' instead of a 'doing' in training. One must be free. Instead of complexity of form, there should be simplicity of expression.
To me, the extraordinary aspect of martial arts lies in its simplicity. The easy way is also the right way, and martial arts is nothing at all special; the closer to the true way of martial arts, the less wastage of expression there is.
In building a statue, a sculptor doesn't keep adding clay to his subject. Actually, he keeps chiselling away at the inessentials until the truth of its creation is revealed without obstructions. Thus, contrary to other styles, being wise in Jeet Kune-Do doesn't mean adding more; it means to minimize, in other words to hack away the unessential.
It is not daily increase but daily decrease; hack away the unessential.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Train smart, work smart

It is all in the brain and the mind, this is the leader of the body. The stronger the neural pathways and the better/clearer they communicate with the muscles and systems of the body the better the integration and subsequent movement/coordination of your body and the 'stronger' and more efficient and effective you will move.

This being said it is essential that when you train/practice/move you do so at the highest quality and with the most perfect state possible. This means operating in a state of fatigue, while good for certain things at certain time is NOT and I say NOT!!! the best or most optimal state to strengthen the neural pathways that truly help determine your success in movement! This means training/practicing/moving smart with awareness and learning how to move at the most optimal level, this means ramping up slowly and remembering that it is a journey. So, take the time to learn and study of the moves and how in particular your body performs and responds to the movement patterns.

Training is not all about effort, kicking your ass, burning calories, being lean, how fast, how much, how often, how, what when, why it is truly about attention to detail, preparation, a deep understanding of the intricate nature of the combination of systems that work together and how they work together to make things happen. This is why people like myself exist. I am not training your body, I am training your intellect, your intelligence, your mind and if you pay attention and give feedback combined with proper rest and nourishment and with that will power, the sky is the limit!

Train smart, work smart...

Sunday, July 12, 2009

“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.”

As I practice, explore, observe, move, train, and learn in my daily life I find myself looking inward through my outward actions and expressions. I continue to expand and progress in all areas of my life as I put intention, attention and compliment that with application. And as a student who explores for the purpose of being a better teacher and coach amongst many other reasons I find myself stepping each day into a new level of understanding and contemplation related to what I do.

I have been reflecting specifically on something Gandhi said, “Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.” And as I stepped under the bar the other day I took time to meditate on this concept knowing that I have ‘strength’ and I have ‘physical capacity’ but it is truly my will that is going to take all that practice and preparation and help me to go beyond any perceived limitation that I may have or anyone else may have for that matter.

This brought me back to a particular day when I was going for a PR, the first of its kind and with only 3 weeks preparation. And I remember my coach and others saying that did not believe I could do what I said I could. Based on what I had done up to that point and with the limited training I had I understand why they would think this way. But what they did not know and what I and maybe a few others actually knew is what was/is inside, what my will is, what my real strength is. Because strength is not only a measurement of numbers which will give you tangible feedback but like Gandhi says strength is something truly deeper, beyond the minds eye.

So, as I stepped up that day back then and again the other day and I did what I knew I was capable of and successfully completed my PR attempt. For me it was not about the number but more about the internal make up of my being and how all the deeper mental, emotional, spiritual and physical training has made me feel capable of doing anything that I put my mind and intention into! This moment, these moments are affirmations behind my practice and approach and truly that of the masters whom I learn from.

There are probably many reasons I am at this point and have come to this point in my life to have this deep inside believe that anything is possible, that there no limitations, only the ones we and society place on ourselves…and here is what I say to society, thank you but I do not accept your limitations so please just know that you can keep your gifts and share them with yourself or better yet join me in believing anything is possible!

I give thanks to meditation and yoga practices for helping me to solidify these neural pathways that I am developing in my mental, emotional, spiritual and physical make-up along with the spirit of the breathe of life and certain people who have inspired me along my path. I have made a choice and so can you! I choose to live a life without limits, borders and boundaries, to go beyond the minds eye to set/establish new paradigms!

Monday, July 06, 2009

Yoga will make you a better athlete period!

*Yoga is about breathing, that is the critical element. More importantly it is about breathe connected to movement. And as an athlete learning how to breathe, learning how to control respiration, learning how to deepen the breathe providing the body with more oxygen per breathe, slowing the heart rate, controlling the stroke volume, etc. Linking breathe and movement, saturating your body with O2 will only help you perform better, longer, and stronger.

*Yoga is about union and for the purpose of this topic it is the union of mind and body, breathe and movement. It is the ability to connect all systems of the body and help them to operate and the highest levels of efficiency and therefore effectiveness leading to a more integrated and fused approach to movement and a more relaxed state of mind within the movement. Yoga will make your mind and body move with more grace, more steadiness, more fluidity, more control, balance, power, speed, endurance, agility, flexibility and stability.

*Yoga will strengthen your body, your connective tissue, your structure and integration, your muscles, your breathe and your mind

*Yoga will increase your range of motion, your flexibility, your stability and your natural anatomical posture increasing your bodies ability to function at the highest level.

*Yoga will help you learn how to meditate for the purposes of relaxing your mind and slowing down all things going on around you. It will ground you admist chaos and in all sports there is chaos at all times, but it is the athlete who can slow things down and act ahead of and according to what is going to and what is in fact happening at the same time. Calming the mind, creating a stillness and understanding of the fluctuations of the mind is integral to all aspects of life and athletics is just one example arena.

*Yoga is an athletic form of movement and stillness. It teaches one how the body functions and how to address its own personal needs. There is not a person out there who could not benefit from this and athletes who know more about their body and their needs related to sport and life thereafter are in a much better position to be health and fit to perform.

*Yoga is a way to stretch and enhance flexibility, open the deep aspects of the bodies connective tissue, enhance range of motion and a part of the prehab, rehab, restorative, regenerative and recovery process. The difference is it is an complete integrative system of health and wellness that is far beyond what most people do and think when it comes to stretching. After all, flexibility and creating the openness and range of motion in the body is far more than just about folding forward in a standing or seated position to stretch the hammies.

This is just the basics, a little stream of consciousness related to some of what I have observed due to yoga in myself and others. I am not the only athlete or coach encouraging athletes to take into consideration the addition of a yoga practice. It does not have to be a 90 minute practice but it is one you should learn from a teacher such as myself who can analyze your body, your sport and see how it fits.

I do know this, it is my most important practice and it is the difference in my practice and ability. My mind and body function at a much higher level and this integration means I operate at a higher level of sequencing, fusion, function and action making it much easier for me to move and to do so with precision, coordination, strength, power, speed, endurance, agility, balance and other factors that define the athlete.

Do not take my word for it, try it and find out yourself!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

System Principles and Adaptation

The Keys to any successful system is a strong and grounded set of principles and concepts and it is ability to be adapted to a given set of situations and circumstances.

As a student of systems, including Iyengar and Astanga Yoga; RKC and GS Kettlebells, Bodybuilding, Athletic Training, Westside barbell Powerlifting, Olympic Lifting (newest), Crossfit, Paul Chek, multiple nutrition systems (including Warrior Diet, Zone, South Beach, Mediterranean, etc.) and so much more it is my understanding of the roots principles and concepts of these systems and the ability to take them and apply them to the individual and put them into a progressive program that allows for success physiological, psychological adaptation all while keeping the goal(s) in mind and the present moment. (My opinion based on 14 years of study and practice/experience).

What I often see is people being beholden to a particular system and not truly understanding what it is about the system that makes it tick. The challenge is these often are the people teaching the system not just the people practicing it (i.e. the students). The dissemination of information is critical to the understanding and progression of any system and the people operating within the system.

Therefore it is essential to understand/learn the key principles/concepts of the system and then how to apply them across a large bandwidth keeping in mind that versatility/adaptability is a neccesity because in order to progress we need to understand all the variables present in the moment and keep in mind that a system with strong principles will stand the test of time and the present because it is able to adjust accordingly and still be in a constant state of progression versus digression.

What also must be kept in mind is simple logic and science that up until now has not proven to be anything but truth (absolute I am not sure, but as it stands, truth). For example concepts in physics, geometry, algebra, and even more specific to the world of training and athletics things such as General Adaptation Syndrome, Law of Specificity, F= MxA, and so on.

We operate in a world filled with information, ideas, thoughts, theories, systems and interpretations/perspective/points of view but often we forget there is a foundation, a platform for which any thing constructed is built upon. There is room for adaptability, just look at the human species throughout time and this obvious. But we must not forget the basics principles and concepts in which a given system is built upon and we must learn how to implement with as little as bias as possible, as little ego and attachment as possible and keep in mind that we have to be able to adapt to the given moment with the basic principles in mind/action.