Cycle of Tomorrow

Mañana Mañana Mañana!!!  Have you ever had an idea about an invention only a few months later to see it for sale?  Have you ever thought about calling a friend or family member and then suddenly they are gone from your life.  What about when your kids ask you to read to them; but you are too tired so you promise to do it tomorrow?

The example I see the most is when people choose to skip training because their friends invite them out.  Many think, “It’s Monday, there is still four more days of the week.”  But then tomorrow they get called into a work meeting at the end of the day.  Then the next day, their best friend asks for help with something.  Then tomorrow becomes the next day… and the next… and the next.  Pretty soon they are not going to the gym and within weeks they are “too busy” and give up.

So how do we keep from getting caught in the “Cycle of Tomorrow”?

The mindset we must adopt is “What happens if there is no tomorrow?”.  When you begin to think this way you will find yourself prioritizing your time and emphasizing what is most important to you.

For instance, when your significant other comes home you will hug them longer.  When you read to your children will you animate it for them.  When you train, you will train as if it is the last time you will ever get to throw a punch or kick!

So, how much closer will it bring you and your loved ones together?

How much closer will that mind set take you towards your goals?

When you ask yourself these questions, you will find yourself accomplishing more, loving life and making those around you much happier.

What will you do today to defeat the “Cycle of Tomorrow”?

Guro Larry, Sonja, Lauren & Tori St. Clair
The Always Improving Martial Way Academy
Martial Arts Training and Fitness Education at its Best
http://www.martialway.net
512-821-3637

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The Cure to Remember

Have you ever forgotten to do something?  Sure.  Everyone has tags forgotten to do a task, chore or even pay a bill.  It has happened to all of us at some point in our lives. Unfortunately this is the true culprit that holds us back from achieving our goals.

So how do we cure this issue?  The simple answer is to adopt a strategy of “DO IT NOW”!

As you year this you probably think it means to drop what you are doing and do a different task.  It sounds that way; however it is not that black and white.

The gray area here is how you use your “now”.  This will make a difference in your efficiency towards yours goals.  It will either be a speed bump to slow you down or a catapult to enhance your momentum.

Think about what your goal or task at hand is developing you towards.  Is the new task so important or urgent that you have to stop what you are doing to take care of it?  Is it something that can be completed later?

Picture you are working on a project.  Then all the sudden you remember you need to pay a bill before tomorrow.  At first you look at this and you have two choices.

Choice #1 – Stop doing what you are doing and pay the bill.  This slows your momentum down on your project.  It is similar to stopping a canoe.  It takes more effort to get the boat moving than it does to keep it moving.

Choice #2 – Keep working on your project and pay the bill later tonight or first thing in the morning.  This is the better answer; however a few things need to be assessed.

A) Is this a bill you can pay through an online or telephone automation system?  This means you can do it at any point in your 24 hour day.  If so, then doing it later is the best solution.

B) Is this a bill where you must show up in person or talk to someone?  If so, then you may be confined to their hours and have to do it sooner than later.

Obviously if we plan a little further ahead we can easily take care of this and it won’t be a distraction.  However sometimes it doesn’t work out that way.

The best scenario is we get to pay it later however we have a new issue.  We might forget.  In fact that might be the reason it hasn’t already been paid.  This takes a simple task and makes it not just important; but also urgent!

So what is a better solution?  How can we become faster and more efficient while also remembering to take care of more tasks?

The simple answer is to write it down.  Run a planner or a journal where you can keep track of your ideas and thoughts.  It takes less than 10 seconds to write down the task or thought and all you have to do is review it later.

This is a perfect “Do It Now” structure because it enables you to keep moving forward on your tasks at hand.  It also allows your others tasks, thoughts and ideas to not fall through the cracks.

Now every strategy or technique has a down fall.  This strategies “Kryptonite” is a lack of structure or discipline.  If you write it down, the next pitfall is that you have to be sure and review it before you finish your day.  This guarantees you some reflection about your day and a chance to finish up a task that you felt was not urgent at the time.

You see the “Do It Now” Strategy can mean do the task “now” or write it down “now” so you can do it later.  All you have to do is follow up on it at the end of your day.

Try this and you will find yourself discovering the 25th hour in each day. You will find yourself accomplishing more and achieving your goals faster.

So, “When” will you try this strategy?


Guro Larry, Sonja, Lauren & Tori St. Clair
The Always Improving Martial Way Academy
Martial Arts Training and Fitness Education at its Best
http://www.martialway.net
512-821-3637

Advocare Independent Distributor
www.advocare.com/01034635

What does it take to Be A Finisher?

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What comes to your mind when you hear “Be A Finisher”?

I believe it all has to do with your back ground and experiences.  If you are very academic or occupation minded then it probably has to do with completing projects.  On the other hand if you are very athletic or competitive then it probably has to do with completing a race, event or season.

No matter which group you fit into you are one and the same.  You have a goal in mind and to “Be A Finisher” means that you must bring “IT” to completion.  You have to finish what you started!!!

So if you are a finisher then how many medals do you have?  How many trophies are on your book case?  Even if your event or race didn’t offer prizes for completing it you might have kept something.  A small symbol or token to say “Yep, I finished that!”

This reminds me of a race called the Beach to Bay.  It is a marathon relay where all the members on a team divide up the legs to complete the race.  The first year I did it was after I was cleared from ACL rehabilitation.  It was a big deal for me to run four to five miles after being down for 12 months.  I kept the medal they gave us for completion.  I even kept the shirt and the number I wore!!!  I am sure if you look around you will find many things like this.  Just look on your book shelf.  Do you still have that book that you finished reading?  Why is it really there?  Do you need to go back and refer to it?  Most likely not.  It is there as a symbol that you completed it!  If you start looking around you will begin to find more and more trophies of completion from your life.

If you are finding less “trophies then the real question is how many times have you completed something you started?  For a long time I found myself wanting to make a Wooden Dummy to practice my martial arts.  To build even a “make shift” one would be a lot more affordable than purchasing one.  So what did I do?  I went and bought all the items needed including the tools.  What happened?  It all sat in the garage… forever!  I am sure you have had this happen with something.  Maybe you got into scuba diving or some other hobby or interest.  You did the classes, got the gear and now don’t do anything with it.  Sometimes the idea of doing something is clearer than the action of doing it.

So, how do we get beyond the clutter of things that are not finished?  We must formulate our goals.  This means take the larger picture of competition and break it down into a few steps.  Each one of these steps will be consider a smaller goal.  After all, how do we eat and elephant?  One bite at a time.

Once you have your steps or smaller goals in place, it is time to make a plan.  How many tasks will it take to complete each step to your goal?  Write them out and be specific.  Set a timeline to them.  Even give yourself a reward for completing each one of these smaller goals.  If you want to really light a fire under your bottom, give yourself some discomfort for not completing a step on time.  Motivation will come in many ways.  After all, people do things out of pleasure and stop doing things out of pain.  Above all, make your plan quickly so that you can get into action.  When I say this I mean make a plan that has a step you can do right NOW!!!!

An example for us would be that we are going to start training for the Texas Water Safari.  We have our goals in place and are ready.  But it is the middle of the night.   We probably won’t put in on the river at that given moment.  So how do we start now?  We can begin by setting up our next training run.  We can message other teams and set it all up on the calendar.  There are always steps that can be taken no matter what time it is.  So do it and do it NOW!

As you get moving towards completing anything, the farther away something is, the more you have to stay focused.  The best way I have found to do this is find and/or create all sorts of references to keep you on track.  When competing or doing anything I want to finish I am looking at video or photos.  I am talking to people that have done it before and putting myself at the finish line.  I am not only seeing but also feeling what it will be like when I get there.  It is like knowing the last page number of a book.  That feeling to know you are getting closer to the end.  Picture yourself holding the book.  How good does it feel to know that you have read all the pages in your left hand.  That feeling is only second to when you close the book for the very last time.  That sense of completion is the greatest feeling!

Mentally focusing on these feelings and thoughts of completion will help you push through every barrier.  It will also help you have fun along your journey.  After all, it is really about the trip and experience more than the destination.  But it does feel good to celebrate finishing something you started.

Guro Larry, Sonja, Lauren & Tori St. Clair

The Always Improving Martial Way Academy
Martial Arts Training and Fitness Education at its Best
http://www.martialway.net
512-821-3637
Advocare Independent Distributor
www.advocare.com/01034635

Reaching Peak Performance in Life

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“Periodization” is a great way to reach peak performance while achieving your goals in life.  When you use this method you are essentially breaking down smaller periods of time and overlapping them for a specific result.  In most cases it is to build better fitness or even compete in an event.  However, “Periodization” may also be used to improve your personal or even professional life!

Before you start any phase of “Periodization” you must choose a goal.  Once you have a specific goal in place, you want to assign a time frame to it.  Focus on a realistic time to make your goal happen.  Too little time will possibly set yourself up for failure, whereas too much time will not push you to be your best.

Next you want to create a plan of action!  Your plan starts in the Preparatory (Prep) Phase.  This is a very important part to any Periodization Program.  Consider it the warm up to an activity or exercise.  Plan out exercises mentally, physically and spiritually that will condition you for what you will be enduring in other phases.  A great example of this phase would be “Training Camps” in other sports.  These normally happen before the season begins and they prepare everyone for the challenges ahead.

As you complete your prep work you will be ready to enter the Pre Competitive (Pre Comp) Phase.  This is an important area using the tools that will be the most important for your success.  For instance, if you were going to do a Kickboxing match you will focus less on your Grappling.  You want this phase to be built around the specific tools you need.  Fundamental movements to your event or goal are huge here.  Remember a high volume of repetition is how we destroy fear and it is the key to success.

Now that you have built a strong foundation and the frame work is in place you are ready for the larger challenge.  This next phase is known as the Competitive (Comp) Phase.  This is where you will begin to develop and implement your winning combinations and/or strategies.  You will put your Prep Phase and Pre Comp Phase to work.  This phase is what you have worked so hard for!  During this time period you will find yourself questioning why you are doing this.  You will have to remind yourself of your goals and push past the midway point into the dark and deep waters.  Depending on your event, this is where you will take your times and build to three times what you need.  When you get to this point you only want to hold it for a few days.  As you reach this max out point you will experience the most fatigue.  Remember your goal(s) and stay strong so you can reach the next phase.

Now that you have build to your maximum point you can begin to Taper and Peak.  This phase is one of the most important because it helps you push faster and harder than ever.  This is where you would take your max and cut it in half for a few days.  Continue this process every few days until you are at the exact time frame for your event.  This will allow you more energy and create more explosive power for yourself.  Think of the past training phases as running long distances or even lifting less weight for a high amount of repetitions.  While you Taper and  Peak your focus shifts to sprinting or lift heavy weight only a few times.  Every thing you do here matters in a big way.  Be sure to allow yourself enough time to reach your Peak for a few days before the event.  When you do it right, you will feel like you are at the top of the world!!!

Now your event is hear.  Your moment to shine in the ring, on the course or in the board room has come.  After your event you need one very important final phase.  This is known as the Transition Phase.   This is usually around 30% of your total time training for your goal.  It allows you time to train at lower intensities and repair after your event.  It also gives you a chance to perform more with your new found skills.  Best of all, you will be able to plan and use the momentum from your previous goal.  This will help launch you into your next Prep, Pre Comp or Comp Phase.  This phase actually creates more long term growth than all of the other phases combined.

So how do you start using “Periodization”?  The first and most important task is to writing your goals down.  When your goals are tangible on a piece of paper, your plan will start to create itself.  Remember your ability to write this kind of training will only get better with experience.  Keep creating and conquering and you will find yourself leaping to new abilities and goals!!

Use this template to help plan your time for each phase and get busy!!!

Prep Phase – 25% of time
Pre Comp Phase – 25% of time
Comp Phase – 35% of time
Taper Phase – 15% of time
Your Event or Goal
Transition – 30% of total time from above

Guro Larry, Sonja, Lauren & Tori St. Clair

The Always Improving Martial Way Academy
Martial Arts Training and Fitness Education at its Best
http://www.martialway.net
512-821-3637
Advocare Independent Distributor
www.advocare.com/01034635

The Prepared Mindset

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Before going into any event you would probably consider getting prepared.  You would read the rules and study the course or game.  You would build your strength and endurance as well as your skills for the activities you would be participating in. This would be important for your safety as well as secure a potential win!!!

This is the same idea whether you are competing, challenging your abilities or just leaving the house.  I bring this topic up because we are trying to teach our daughters the Prepared Mindset.  This type of thinking is a way of preparing mentally for what is to come or happen.  Many people think of this as a “Dooms Day” Mindset.  Maybe that helps put it into perspective though.  Do you have everything you need to “Survive” your day?  Better yet… “Do you have everything you need to perform at your best today?”  Ah, I got it.  “Do you have everything you need to out perform yesterday?”  Now we are talking!!!

So how does this really work?  Well here are some examples.  If you forgot your gym clothes at home, you might end up just staying at home instead of going to train.  If you leave without enough water for the days travels, you will either have to purchase water or dehydrate yourself.  If you don’t have any or enough snacks and meals for the day, you will either slow your metabolism down and/or have to purchase food.

These are all examples of things that slow us down daily towards our goals.  These make a big impact on more that just our physical health.  Think about how wonderful you feel after working out.  Think about how it feels to reach certain physical goals.  The confidence and stress relief that comes with working out is priceless.   What about the gasoline and mileage if you have to make extra trips to obtain things you need for your day.  What about the extra “Convenience Fee” you pay when you purchase water or food versus making it.  All the sudden you are spending more money instead of saving more money.  Your finances take a nose dive and you are unable to take a vacation.  Now  you don’t get to unplug and relax creating more stress in your life!  This is a downward spiral and believe it or not; this is many peoples lives.

Take a step outside that storm.  Start by looking at what you will need to make tomorrow an even better day.  You can do this simply by reflecting on how today went.  You can even make some notes or journal as your day is going.  Then review these notes later and see what you can do to improve tomorrow.

Some easy examples we try to remind our daughters are:

How much water do I need for the day?

How many snacks and or meals do I need?

Will I go to the gym tomorrow?

Do I have my clothes packed?

The list can go on and it will different for each of you depending on the day.  The shining moment is when your day to day habit of practicing this becomes a weekly habit.  Once that happens you will see yourself planning your month and then later your year out.  This is where the real Prepared Mindset comes to life.  This is where your goals exist!  This is where you will find yourself not just achieving more; but also living life to its fullest!!!

Guro Larry St. Clair

The Always Improving Martial Way Academy
Martial Arts Training and Fitness Education at its Best
http://www.martialway.net
512-821-3637
Advocare Independent Distributor
www.advocare.com/01034635

The Difference in Winning and Success – Part Three

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As you understand the power of Winning and Success to reach your goals, you will realize one thing.  The process is kind of boring.  If you haven’t found this moment yet, then you probably are not giving yourself enough time to develop.  After all, the process is truly what makes us grow more than any few minutes or hours at an event.  Following a process means you will be doing something over and over again.  This high volume of repetition isn’t glamorous and sometimes really isn’t all that much fun.

This normally happens about mid-way through your training camp.  This is what I call the “Mid Training Blues”.  This is about the time when you are tripling all of your efforts in something known as the “Pre-Comp Phase”.  It will be your longest training days.  Your body will be sore and tired which will prey on your mental stamina.  You will be tested in more ways than the event you plan to finish.  So how do you push through this “Hell”?  The strategy I have always used is what I call the F&P Concept.

The F&P Concept is simple and something that you can apply to everything in your life.  You need Faith that everything you are doing is for a reason.  If you follow these steps over and over again it will pay off when you get to your event.   Just by saying “over and over again” you know what that means.  It means you have to be Patient.  Rome wasn’t built in a day.  Therefore some of your abilities will take time to develop.  Just breath, relax and continue training to your goal.

Wooden put it in a really amazing way.  If you do your best in training and at the event, the outcome is what it should be.

Picture the moment the event is over.  The crowd, your opponent(s) and your team should not be able to tell the outcome.  They won’t be able to tell if you have won or not.  Accepting this early on makes a big difference in your Success Attitude and Winning Mindset.  In the end you need both Success and Winning.  Winning cannot exist without Success in place and Success is fueled by Winning.  Using these together will allow you to be prepared for your event.  They will also allow you to celebrating your losses, your victories, your growth, and your journey.

If you duplicate this process through several events you will start to notice one thing.  The less you focus on Winning the more you will Win.  After all “IT” is bigger than Winning.  The process and choosing your Successes or goals is what make you the Winner.

Wooden put it in a really amazing way.  If you do your best in training and at the event, the outcome is what it should be.  Picture the moment the event is over.  The crowd, your opponent(s) and your team should not be able to tell the outcome.  They won’t be able to tell if you have won or not.  This is not only great sportsmanship; but also the display of your growth while using Success and Winning together.

In the end you need to utilize both Success and Winning.  Winning cannot exist without Success in place and Success is fueled by Winning.  Using these together will allow you to be prepared for your event.  They will also allow you to celebrating your losses, your victories, your growth, and your journey.

Guro Larry, Sonja, Lauren & Tori St. Clair

The Always Improving Martial Way Academy
Martial Arts Training and Fitness Education at its Best
http://www.martialway.net
512-821-3637
Advocare Independent Distributor
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The Difference in Winning and Success – Part Two

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Now that you have your goals in place and even a plan, you have to get into ACTION!!!

You can only experience Success when you start something.

Whether you are looking for Success or to Win, this step is the most important.  Imagine a pattern of dominoes.  There has to be a bump to the first one so they can all fall into place.  You have to get started!!!

Now if you want to amplify your Success, HIT the domino harder and put yourself out there.  When you put yourself into a competition or place where you may win or loose you always WIN!!!

You are probably wondering, how can I loose and still Win?

Well often enough your list of “Whys” to do something will be shorter than your list of “Reasons” to not get started.  If you can add more powerful “Whys”, then they will give you strength to overcome your list of “Reasons”.  This is like adding a “Fire Starter” log to an already existing fire.  It is going to burn hotter, higher and longer.

So what is this “Fire Starter”?  It is the fear of failure.  It exists in our everyday life and especially in competition.  Fear can create a list a mile long for why not to do something.  The funny thing is this list will continue to grow as you get further into executing your plan!  The pain of your evolution will cause you to whine or complain and even make excuses on why you cannot continue.  The fear of failure as you get closer to your Competition will also try to hold you back.

When you get started follow the W.E.C. Principle.

No W – Whining

No E – Excuses

No C – Complaining

This concept comes from John Wooden the “Wizard of Westwood” and the head coach of UCLA for many years.  He was most known for winning ten NCAA National Championships in a 12 year period!  That included seven in a ROW!!!  Wooden says, if you have done everything you were supposed to do, then the result should be the way you want it to be.  This has got to be the key to preparation and beating your pains and fears.

You must prepare your mind, body and spirit to be strong.  You have to research and understand the rules, the environment and what you will need to endure.  Picture yourself going through each moment.  Imagine the emotions you will feel while competing.  In preparation you want to live your event weeks before you get there. Often enough, the pain of getting there is much worse than the actual event itself.

These steps of Success help create your Winning Mindset.  You have succeeded in your preparation.  Now you are going to take that Success to a whole new level by playing the game to the best of your ability.

Guro Dan Inosanto says that when you fight (in the street or ring) you earn up to six months of gym experience during that one event.

You have committed the time that it takes to prepare.  You have succeeded in reaching your maximum potential at that given moment.  You have also put yourself out there and can now face your fears.  Each one of these Successes has enhanced your ability to Win no matter what the rules, times or judges say.

Use the power of Winning to increase your Success!

Guro Larry, Sonja, Lauren & Tori St. Clair

The Always Improving Martial Way Academy
Martial Arts Training and Fitness Education at its Best
http://www.martialway.net
512-821-3637
Advocare Independent Distributor
www.advocare.com/01034635