39 things that I’ve learned from 39 years of martial arts training

  1. Focus and mindfulness is a practiced skill and as valuable as your physical techniques
  2. Setting larger goals and smaller objectives to help you succeed
  3. You don’t always get back what you’ve put in but you will learn something about yourself, your training partners or from that situation. You need to be observant of the situation and how you react to it
  4. Align yourself to the most efficient and effective solution for any given situation, be it in conversation or physical confrontation.
  5. Don’t be a quitter when things get hard/you get injured/things not going according to your plan.
  6. Whining about how life is hard or unfair doesn’t make it any less so. Action is usually the solution. Channel your energy appropriately
  7. Good coaching is not cheap and cheap coaching is not good
  8. You get to make many good friends all over the world
  9. Not all martial arts are equal but all martial arts serve its intended purpose
  10. Martial arts is not exclusively about fighting
  11. There are more lessons learnt from martial arts than just physical combat effectiveness
  12. There are no shortcuts to achieving success. If there were you are just lying to yourself
  13. Plan B usually sets you up for Plan A so you had better plan for both situations
  14. The biggest, toughest, meanest person in the dojo is usually the more scared and has worse insecurity issues. They just hide it better as they’ve had more practice
  15. There are many wolves in sheep’s clothing
  16. Get comfortable with the grind. Be the grind.
  17. Huge achievements usually come in the most unexpected and seemingly insignificant encounters
  18. Learn from everything and everyone
  19. Not all beginners are beginners
  20. Remember why you started doing all this
  21. Some people will use you for what you know. You will teach them nonetheless because you are your teacher’s student
  22. Never be guilt-ed into doing something that you know is wrong
  23. You should never try to “be” anyone else. Be yourself and push your personal limitations a bit at a time
  24. Mastery of a technique comes through many hours of interaction. Therefore mastery is learned from your training partners as it is impossible to achieve in isolation and alone. The teacher is but a guide
  25. Aligning yourself with people who share the same perspective is a huge advantage for your training success
  26. The biggest, most famous gyms may not necessarily be the best
  27. Sometimes a hunter can chase two rabbits at the same time. It just takes longer.
  28. The best fighters do not always make the best teachers
  29. Write down your training notes because you will forget most of the things you learn over the years
  30. Sometimes the best way to learn is to teach
  31. If you are a teacher, communicate with your students in the same way a caveman parent would teach his or her offspring and tribe family how and where to hunt, fish or scavenge as we all will improve the techniques and benefit from the shared experience
  32. Personal hygiene before and after training cannot be over emphasized
  33. Over training is just as bad as not training enough
  34. Nutrition, rest and positive mental thoughts are just as important as the company you keep in and out of the dojo
  35. Travel often and visit other dojo. See how we are all similar but different. Celebrate that! We are all on the same team!
  36. It is very difficult to have a cookie-cutter plan for all students. Everyone is unique and different. Why should the way you teach them be any different?
  37. A teacher in martial arts should also have personal goals and objectives as the student. There is no finish line in martial arts
  38. Time is a relative concept during sparring. Once you have experienced that “zone” you can slow it down to do what you need to do.
  39. Strength and conditioning are currency in martial arts. Be physically and mentally strong to allow your time well spent on developing skill through technique and timing.

In servitude and openness,
Vince Choo