Martial Arts • Fighting Science • 10 • Yin ☯ Yang of Burden vs. Privilege

Exercising is hard. Different sports introduce their own challenges and levels of difficulty while balancing strength and conditioning. Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is unique in that the whole body needs to be developed from head to toe. MMA not only requires physical strength but also aerobic and anaerobic exercise.

I tell a new student at the beginning of their first workout:

“One of two things will happen at the end of this workout.
You will say to yourself;
‘That was incredibly hard, and I never want to do that again”, or;
“That was incredibly hard but for some reason, I want to do that again'”.

Over the years I’ve found that very few students say the latter. I believe it’s due to the secretion of dopamine from exercise that brings a feeling of fulfillment, rather than suffering. Training at Ferus Fitness Fight Club is quite unique compared to other clubs in Prague. Attention is given to focusing on strength, conditioning, and fighting basics. Proper technique is taught from day-one to minimize bad habits that are hard to break. Students need a foundation from which to build their skills.

In today’s internet age, patience and time are in short supply.

Today’s millennials have a tough time learning the basics because it takes a lot of patience and time. Younger generations typically see exercise as a chore – a duty requested by parents, teachers, or coaches. They don’t realize they are investing in their well-being. In contrast, teachers have a difficult task to convert burden into joy. Competition plays a strong role in a student’s fulfillment because winning brings a sense of achievement and satisfaction. Pain from training is masked by the theater of competition. But it also causes some students to bypass training altogether, solely in favor of the competitive adrenaline. If that happens, their longevity is shortlived by others willing to invest the time to hone their skills.

When you’re a child, exercise is a burden.
When you’re an adult, training is a privilege.

As we get older, time seems to shorten. Work, family, and obligations take time and energy. Allocating resources to exercise is challenging. I often hear, “I don’t have time to exercise”. When I hear this, then I ask, “What is your entertainment? Do you watch television, for example?” Are the hours spent on various forms of entertainment the best allocation of time? One person’s entertainment is another person’s waste of time. One could argue that any form of entertainment is a waste of time. Any uni-directional flow of information is passive, whereby learning is interactive. Exercise, reading, and training are bi-directional interactions. Certainly, there needs to be a balance, and finding it may be difficult. Awareness and recognition are the first steps in the journey of finding this balance.

There are no shortcuts to getting in shape. “No Pain, No Gain” may be old school, but shortcuts are typically scams or don’t return the outrageous results advertised. Sure, we should train smart. But no matter how you cut it, there will always be pain.

About the Author

Gabriel Dusil has been a practitioner of Martial Arts for over twenty years. Originally he trained in the traditional style of Shotokan Karate. Gabriel has also trained under Sensei Martin “Sonic” Langley in the United Kingdom and currently trains with Karel Ferus in Prague at the Ferus Fitness Fight Club, fffc.cz. More recently he focuses on circuit training, strength & conditioning, and kickboxing.

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