#126 Train the mind to conquer the body

This weekend I helped my brother move to Austin. If you’ve ever moved an entire house, you know it is a challenge. Navigating large awkwardly shaped pieces of furniture (seemingly designed in the least ergonomic fashion) through doors, up and down stairs and into a u-haul is something everyone should experience.

You will quickly become familiar with heavy breathing, calluses, burning shoulders and forearms… If all goes well that is. If not you can easily get hurt picking something up or having something fall on you. It is an opportunity for the modern man to be exposed to the harsh realities of nature.

Life is not only hard, it demands a lot from everyone of us. Our salvation is to develop resilience daily and train our mind to continue when our bodies grow weary. That is the essence of fighting spirit.

#125 Bruised ego or bruised body?

With everything going on surrounding the riots, BLM, defund the police movement and law enforcement along there is an argument for law enforcement to become more capable physically as well as in hand to hand combat to prevent escalation and consequently the use of force.

While many of us are not in favor of actually defunding the police like hypocrites Alyssa Milano and the clowns from Minneapolis city council have shown, it doesn’t take a genius to spot the need for our heroes in blue to be better trained. Tim Kennedy gave this great analogy on the Joe Rogan podcast last month stating that defunding an underperforming school is not the solution.

With that said there are two things getting in the way of our police officers developing their Jiu Jitsu and many of you, particularly those in law enforcement who are interested, will be glad to know that you have a home at our Jiu Jitsu academy and gym in La Quinta, California.

1. Cops are typically cheap when it comes to investing in themselves (gym, nutrition, self defense, etc)

2. They have a large ego that prevents them from being “the white belt” in class.

What is comforting to know is that while working alongside Tim Kennedy as a Jiu Jitsu instructor for Austin PD SWAT which was an incredible experience and out of the 30 or so officers we worked with I was met with nothing but gratitude, humility and eagerness to learn.

We can all relate to having an ego, an ego is not all bad, with no sense of pride we would be spineless. The key is learning to control it as Ryan Holiday points out in his book Ego is the Enemy. As humans we all have a desire to be great or feel important and respected in some way and it can be valuable to us and others but we must understand that in order to achieve our own greatness we must expose ourselves and our weaknesses with the chief aim of making them better. “Get out of your comfort zone” as it is simply put. Only then are we capable of truly unlocking new heights for ourselves, rather than protecting our ego from reality.

Steve and I and Tim Kennedy with Austin PD SWAT.

#124 Finding Our Why

Every journey comes with it’s bumps in the road. It can cause us to lose our sense of direction and often our motivation as a result.

For some it’s as simple as reminding yourself of why you started the journey. Some will need to dig deeper to uncover the meaning of “why they want to lose fifteen pounds or learn Jiu Jitsu”.

“Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.” -Viktor Frankl

#123 Psychology of Jiu Jitsu

While it’s well understood through the BJJ (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu) community, that Jiu Jitsu has a positive effect one’s mood I wanted to look further and find some sort of psychological backing as to why that is.

It is quite well known that exercise releases endorphins that are natural mood enhancers, one of the reasons many therapists will advocate or prescribe exercise for patients suffering from depression.

Also well documented are the benefits of meditation which are included in Jiu Jitsu practice as a lifelong practitioner and psychologist describes.

Clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson also speaks to the benefits of Martial Arts to individuals and particularly youth. Obviously due to the strength and empowerment that is attained as well as the moral lessons that one learns for life such as hard work, practice, taking risk, being resilient along with others.

#122 Don’t judge a book by it’s cover

In our world today governed by political correctness and man-shaming there is a longing for the times where it was not only accepted but encouraged to be a tough man. That doesn’t mean that because you are a rough and dangerous person you can’t also be a sweet person with a big heart. I know many who are military, professional athletes, police, fighters or successful businessmen who possess these traits.

Unfortunately due to many factors the young men today are not surrounded by strong men to teach them how to “be a man”. In ancient cultures a boy became a man as soon as he became a contributing member of society (fishing, hunting, building) by taking on responsibility for himself, his family and his tribe.

Nowadays it is shamed to be “a man”, the same type of people who won World War 1 and 2 are being socially ostracized in universities, the movies and the media. Being a male, and god forbid a white one, you are somehow labeled as having all these negative traits.

What this calls for is acceptance. Understanding that men and women both have biological differences and strengths while at the same time they can both have feminine or masculine traits. Being a martial artist, it is known that fighting is a male dominated art, after all it came from the warrior class who fought our battles. That doesn’t mean there is no place for women, some of whom still display feminine traits, as evident in the UFC, but historically men did the fighting and the dying.

What every man should know, is that you must learn:

1. How to provide. Without financial security you will not attract a suitable mate.

2. How to protect yourself and your loved ones. This involves hard training and hours of practice.

3. How to command the respect of your peers. This is necessary to be apart of a winning team, not a band of losers.

While there are endless ways we can continue to work on ourselves, these are some basics. There has never been a more important time to be a strong man so get to work, the clock is ticking!

#121 Working on things

A true martial artist seeks constant evolution. Every second that passes is an opportunity to evolve in some way. We can never be defined because our nature is to be an ever changing entity.

There are moments in life where we must act purely out of obligation. As a parent, a caretaker, a teacher we have to maintain a sense of duty. We can recognize, however, that in these moments a shift in perspective can make all the difference. Rather than “going through the motions” putting your focus into improving a particular skill can make a chore seem like an opportunity for growth.

We all want to achieve our greatness and success. Sometimes an inconvenience is an unseen opportunity to practice patience. Or a practice is an chance to train a new skill. Perspective is everything and it can make some of the seemingly worst situations become an advantage.

“EVERY ADVERSITY BRINGS WITH IT THE SEED OF AN EQUIVALENT ADVANTAGE” – Napoleon Hill (Think and Grow Rich)

#120 Be Still

It’s Monday and many of us are getting ready to start scrambling through the day.

Things can get hectic and sometimes even during a moment of calm you are still trapped inside the frenzy that was your busy morning getting the kids ready for their zoom classes, rushing to a meeting and all the typical situations that unfold.

Sometimes the best remedy is just to breathe. Five minutes away from your cell phone, the world or tapping on the desk in anticipation. Just a few moments to clear your mind and focus solely on your breath going in and out while trying to relax everything, especially your mind.

I’m talking about meditation, for five minutes. You don’t need any skill. If you are interested in other forms of pranayama and meditation, a quick internet search can guide you.

Im talking about five minutes, one or multiple times a day, to calm yourself and center yourself. I know I may sound like some yogi hippie but think about how we used to recover from being chased by a lion (bad example, we probably didn’t survive that one, but you get the point).

Breath is your life force. We can survive weeks without food, days without water but only minutes without oxygen. Use it.

#119 Do it well!

Humans are among the most intelligent, amazing, creative and resourceful creatures.

At our best…

At our worst, we are comparable to paint on a wall left to dry, providing no more than something uninteresting to look at.

So give your best, no matter who you are or where you are. Demand more of yourself than anyone, because you can. Henry Ford said “whether you think you can or you can’t either way you are right”.

I say this because we all struggle with this. No matter where we are in life. At Hargett Company we have a saying “complacency kills” because it is our number one enemy forever and always from the CEO to the cleaning person. Every task matters and where ever you want to go in life, you deserve. IF you are willing to be honest with yourself and put in the work.

#118 Show Yourself

What an inspiring day with the boys from Lovato’s School of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Martial Arts along with Xande Ribeiro, Victor Hugo and the other Six Blades Jiu Jitsu representatives who attended the IBJJF Oklahoma City Open.

The night prior, Lovato and Xande gave beautiful speeches to most of the 88 competitors on the topics of mindset, giving your best, having fun, being happy and displaying your true self. It’s easy to get so caught up with the nerves of competing that you forget what matters. It’s important to stay in the moment, reminding yourself that you do this because you truly enjoy it. Like a dog with a bone, you love the art, and competing and testing yourself you could give a shit if you take first or not.

This is tricky because of course we want a gold medal, as we should. What we have to learn is to value our performance and display of the art over our ego. Bruce Lee was one of the first to promulgate this idea in the Martial Arts scene in the 70’s (see here). It makes sense you would hear it from Lovato as his father comes from the Jeet Kun Do discipline, the formless system created by Bruce Lee himself who valued self expression over any one discipline.

Lovato’s words must have struck a chord with the competitors as they certainly did with me because his dream of having a tournament in his hometown by a major organization and taking a first place team trophy WAS ACHIEVED! A beautiful day that could only be experienced watching Lovato take two gold medals in the adult division, at 37 years of age – in his weight and closing out the open class with Victor Hugo – in his hometown with both his parents and his academy there to watch it is something out of a movie. Congrats to him on realizing a dream that has been 27 years in the making and has finally been actualized, can’t wait to see what’s ahead!

#117 It’s not ok to be weak…

In Sam Sheridan’s book “A Fighter’s Heart” he witnesses the scene of a dog fighting ring in Brazil, Thailand and the Philippines – something that would be quite a shock to your average yuppie from the suburbs here in the United States. In western cultures, dog fighting is viewed as an inhumane act whereas countries who lack the “man’s best friend” ideology, view them in a much more animalistic manner. In any case, the parallel that Sam makes is that dogs who are bred for fighting, just like fighters, are motivated by a thirst for blood that escapes most.

It’s easy to see the need for compassion in the world but we mustn’t confuse kindness with weakness, we must also accept the need for strong men who are capable of violent acts. There is an idea being propagated where weakness is acceptable or even superior in instances to being a strong toxic man. This thought runs completely contrary to what is seen in nature or history. While it’s nice to envision a utopia where everyone is courteous and fair, organizations such as ISIS and Antifa still exist. Just like dogs, some cultures only respect violence and strength. There isn’t a single scenario in the animal kingdom where it is an advantage to be weak. So ask yourself this: What happens when the strong and powerful people your country are gone? Who will stop the soldiers from another country from crossing your border, seizing your capitol, slaying your countrymen and laying waste to your women and children? The answer is nothing, that is why it is every man’s duty to become as strong and powerful as they possibly can. This is why Martial Arts is so beneficial for a child, to develop a strong and dangerous human who is governed by a set of values and principles (bushido).