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Archive for May 4th, 2010

At What Lengths?

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

Josh Davis, three-time U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist in Swimming, said as he stared down his lane at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, the thought crossed his mind that 4 hours of swimming each day for 10 years—a total 25,000 miles—now came down to one moment in time. That’s unbelievable!

I love studying the championship habits of Olympic Athletes—well, really, the habits of any successful person in their field. What is their secret? At what lengths did they go to reach their goal?

As you know, from my earlier blog, “Committed or Interested”, (if you haven’t read it, stop now, scroll back, and read) I don’t believe there is a “secret” to success. The secret is busting your tail with hard work and putting in long hours.

Sifu Fogg always told us there’s nothing secret about mastering mantis kung fu. He said, “You just train hard, then do it again and again.” I’m doing that, but I’m still holding out for the kung fu download that Neo got in Matrix.

I remember before a tournament, I often trained 3-7 hours per day. John Cheng did more than that!

So, at what lengths will we go to achieve our goals? Here is a (very) few of the successful people I studied.

  • Eight-time U.S. Olympic Gold Medalists Michael Phelps swims a minimum of 5 hours per day 6 days per week.
  • Vladimir Horowitz, an acclaimed Russian-American concert pianist practices from 4-8 hours per day. Closer to home, my kung fu student, Shawn Bradley, when practicing for his final concert to graduate, played his piano up to 10 hours per day!
  • John Grisham wrote every day in the predawn hours before he went to work.
  • Stephen King writes a minimum of 3 hours per day 7 days a week. He says doesn’t even take Christmas off.
  • Walt Disney worked tirelessly on achieving his dream of creating the first full-length animated feature, despite all of Hollywood, and even Walt’s family, saying he couldn’t do it.
  • Sylvester Stallone loaded up on caffeine and wrote the Rocky screenplay in just three days.

After studying these people, I did discover their one common secret: persistence.

Psychologists tell us that to develop a habit, you must practice something one hour per day for 40 days.

To master something it takes 10,000 hours of practice to know all about that subject.

That’s 20 hours per week for 10 years!

Who’s up for the challenge?

Please comment and share your success stories with me.

The Bonds We Build

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

As most of you know, I have had to do some extensive traveling over the last year or so. It has been very difficult to be away from my family but sometimes we must do something that we are not happy with to better benefit those who depend on us. But in addition to my regular family, I have also missed my Kung Fu Family. Four hours travel each way gives me plenty time to think about Kung Fu, and I have come to some personal Kung Fu realizations:

#1: I am Kung Fu. It is in my blood, in every cell. There is no separation left. Every step, move, action and reaction is Kung Fu. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

#2: The Kung Fu family is as real as our own family. Those who train with me, sweat, and even bleed with me are my brothers and sisters. It is very much like the bond soldiers build when in combat.

#3: Teaching Kung Fu is one of my favorite things in my life. It helps keep me sane because it takes every bit of my attention and concentration.

I can tell you from experience, that all of the Instructors at Tyler Kung Fu and Fitness feel this way. From the very first time I met Sifu, I knew that was the case with him (and still is), and he has passed that on to us. And because of that we have created these friendships that are extremely strong.

A couple weeks ago, I drove from Port Arthur to Galveston (about 2.5 hours one way) to see two of my Kung Fu brothers, Adam and Kody. We ate and proceeded to play hands on the beach. I made this trip after working for over eight hours and it was well worth it to see my brothers. That same mindset brings back all of our Kung Fu brothers and sisters back to the school every time they come back to Tyler for whatever reason. It’s all in the things that we have shared at this place, that has become sacred to us, and built these bonds that will last a lifetime.