I will still remember my Taekwondo teacher in ninth grade seeing me on the road, he was coming to class on his bike, and he flashed me a friendly smile.
My stretching wasn't up to the mark - especially the groin stretches which once literally made me BAWL in pain (tears included).
"We'll get him going", my instructor laughed!
It wasn't quite the "I" position you see Jean claude Van damme strapped into between trees in the iconic movie Bloodsport, but it was getting there!
Ive always been naturally inflexible, especially in the hamstrings and groin, though a lot of that was due to my early upbringing where "sitting" was encouraged, as opposed to running about "because who can keep cleaning up after the child".
Parents sometimes harm their kids way more in the early stages than they realize.
Anyway, I was doing great in 7th grade, 8th grade - and indeed, though I wasn't their best fighter, I was certainly their best pushup guy!
"Good", he'd say, as I made sure to touch my chest to the ground on EACH of the 10 reps he made us do on pushups (along with a lot of kicks, frog jumps, a lot of the things I mention in Animal Kingdom Workouts).
(I wasn't a bad fighter in terms of the kicks etc - but the FEAR of getting hit, I had never gotten over that mentally, and so ..)
(Thats huge, once you get knocked out, or hit - and come back - you realize it ain't nothing and the mind moves past it).
But anyway ........
So he asked me this.
"Rahul, practice pe kyun nahi ate!"
(Rahul, why don't you come to practice).
I told him, too much studies and all the other BS reasons I was pulled out.
I never saw him again after that, they stopped the classes in the park a few years later too I believe.
He was lean and mean though - and gave his little son HELL.
Really instilled DISCIPLINE in him from a young age, not saying the harsh physical beatings he handed out was right or wrong (to me he overdid it, even then) - but it sure made a man of him, but that can go both ways i.e. a kid can grow up scarred too.
But anyway ......
I often use the term practice for my workouts.
Sure, I'm working out. I'm exercising. I'm breathing, etc - but more than "burn fat and build muscle", I'm TRAINING - the body and mind - via PRACTICE - and repetition!
Sylvester Stallone once said the following.
"Im not the best or most talented or richest or most successful. I succeed because I keep GOING".
This morning, I woke up to the following on a Medium piece I wrote - a lady Barbora (my own daughter's name is Barbara, so it seemed like a message!) - highlighted this part on the piece.
"You keep going. You stop if you have to - take a few deep breaths, but you keep going!"
I said it for exercise.
She probably used that as inspiration for life, which I meant it to be as well.
Does indeed make perfect!
"I fear not the man who does 10,000 kicks ONCE - but I fear the man who does ONE kick 10,000 times".
If the great Bruce Lee said it, if I keep saying it all the time, that the BORING is what gets the job done, that the fundamentals cannot and must not be ignored, then ... there must be something to it?
No-one, when learning martial arts wants to go through the drills of stretching, inhaling, exhaling, "opening the tight muscles" out - practising the BASIC side kick, for one, and HOLDING the position - mastering CONTROL first before kicking or hitting with POWER ...
No-one wants to get deep in the body, and spend the time required to master the tendons and other supportive musculature of the body, do they?
"It's boring" my daughter keeps saying when I "lecture" her on practice.
Kids these days, globally, are all the same, of course.
But exercise, life, fitness, whatever it is - it's the drip drip drip, the PERSISTENCE - the gumption to keep going when it might long seem like a lost cause and then some - is really what does it at the end of the day.
Take or it leave it, but its true, and thats the lesson for this one.
PS - And thats why it's called PRACTICE. Hours and hours of grueling practice under the SUN - or in freezing cold weather, or in rain ...
The same reason my books are called MANUALS by the doers.
The same reason, that ...
I remember a case when my Taekwondo fellow students were discussing "what if there is terrible weather".
"Well, if its that rainy, dont come", I said (we were training outdoors)
Another one of my fellow students turned around, looked at me, made the following comment (to the instructor).
"Sir, if someone shows up in ALL sorts of weather, THAT is when you know they're serious!"
I still remember him nodding in appreciation.
There's a reason behind it.
See if given what I said you can figure it out!
And remember, this is the vein in which I wrote 16 Inspirational Fitness Recollections, I've probably got 160 in my mind, so get this NOW, you'll never be short of motivation after ths short read!