Holiday Closure: All Easton Schools Closed Dec.14 & morning classes cancelled Dec.15

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December 1, 2022

Time To Train: Making The Most Of Our Time

Jason Kramer

Time To Train: Making The Most Of Our Time

It takes a lot of time to get good at something. The harder the goal, the more time required to become skillful at it. Easy skills can be learned quickly. Difficult things take time. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is difficult, and the time required is infinite.

A common refrain we hear a lot: “I don’t have time.”

This rings true for most of us. It can feel nearly impossible to find an hour or two a day on top of everything else. Most us are doing our best just to get a multitude of things done in the time we have on any given day.

Some days are more difficult than others. It also depends on where we are in life. We often times think we have less time than we do. Students are incredibly busy, but we all look back on our university days wishing we had the time we had then that is quickly consumed by responsibilities. Often we wonder: “Where did the time go?” The truth is that it was always there.

Time waits for no one

It’s impossible to stand still on a moving train. Time will keep moving on as it always does, whether we use it intelligently or not. We have more time than we use, but we can use is more efficiently than we do.

Consider the hour-long meeting that could have been done in 15 minutes. The project that could have been completed in the time that was spent brooding about not wanting to do it. The ten minutes to pause and refocus that makes the next several hours more productive.

Everyone has had the experience of shaping time, good or bad, and like anything it simply depends on what we choose to pay attention to. What we want to consider. (Which is incredibly difficult to do.) Most of us won’t do it, and some days, we just won’t want to. It can be easier to simply throw our hands up and give in.

Time comprises the most valuable natural resource we have. At the end of our lives, we’ll recognize this, but we don’t have wait until then. We can choose to maximize this resource in the present.

[One Day At A Time: The Rhythm Of Process]

Capitalizing on our resources

In order to develop Brazilian Jiu Jitsu or Muay Thai skills, there’s no substitute for mat time, and everything in life competes for this time. Careers, studies, relationships, responsibilities and inconveniences will constantly consume time you need to develop skill.

There are two ways to address this: train when you can and train with purpose.

In my own training, 5 or 6am has become the most valuable hour. I’ve been very lucky to find a partner willing to meet me at the academy early in the morning so we can make progress happen. Often, these sessions have been the only time I’m able to develop my Jiu Jitsu.

When I had a career demanding 70 hours or more a week, my only training was Friday nights and as much as I could physically do on Saturday. For years, those were the only times I trained other than some 6am sessions because these were the only times I could train.

A friend with two kids and in med school nearly quit, but instead he just showed up when he could — an hour here, 20 minutes there, anytime he could find. Eighteen years later, he’s a skilled black belt. On a long enough timeline, it works. Just keep showing up. You’ll find the time if you look for it.

[The Importance of Consistency]

Schedule it in and get rolling

Another viable way to get necessary mat time starts with a schedule. Whatever time of the week you decide to make the day and time, nothing else gets scheduled then. No exceptions. This sacred hour gets replaced by nothing else short of genuine emergency.

Don’t forget — without a plan, you can waste even this precious time. When you get to the mat, train with purpose. Not every session can be like this, but you’ll get the most from your time when you can deliberately pursue certain objectives. If you train focused on one or two things only, you can get a lot more reps on those one or two things than if you simply let the training happen to you.

This requires letting go of some security blankets, which can feel difficult. You have to let go of the thing in front of you that works in order to spend the time working on what you need to develop. Rounds aren’t that long. Spending five minutes in one position, wedded to one idea or one method, might rob you of time in the round to look for other things. Looking for other things means a lot of failure. Failure means learning.  See how much you can get out of each round, and even a few short rounds will be enough for true progress.

Sometimes letting go of hard focus is important too. Just show up. Just roll. Just see what happens. Try something silly that gets you tapped or smashed. Neither really matter. There’s no academy record of who taps who. It makes a good use of time for creativity and to enjoy the process. Use time where you need it most.

The Roman thinker Seneca had a lot to say about this in letters to his student that still hold true today:

“It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it. Life is long enough, and a sufficiently generous amount has been given to us for the highest achievements if it were all well invested. But when it is wasted in heedless luxury and spent on no good activity, we are forced at last by death’s final constraint to realize that it has passed away before we knew it was passing. So it is: we are not given a short life but we make it short, and we are not ill-supplied but wasteful of it… Life is long if you know how to use it.”

Enjoy the ride.  See you on the mat!

[Things To Help Keep You On The Mats]


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