Mental 120 (re-post from 11/07/10)


    This quote got thrown at me recently by by a coach I was working with:

    “Theory always beats functionality if you never fight.”

    In the context of our conversation, the quote spoke about the difference between mystified, impractical approaches to combat (either sport or reality based) and practical, proven ones.

    Like it or not, some things work, some things don’t, and there is only one sure-fuckin’-fire way to find out.

    If you haven’t “fought”, you are selling a theory. You are selling speculation. You are selling a guess.

    Theory has its place, of course, but that place is not in teaching the finer points of martial arts and strength & conditioning.

    In this context, the word “fight” could easily be replaced with the word “try” or even “enthusiastically participate”. The concept is simple, and transcends all professions: If you haven’t learned it yourself, refined it through practice, and tested it under fire, you shouldn’t be teaching it to anyone. Saying it because you’ve heard it is different than saying it because you know it, you’ve felt it, and because you’ve practiced it until the sky became clear.

    One takes time, effort, and often suffering… the other just takes a decent short-term memory.

    Beware the charlatan, especially in fields such as fitness or combat sports where indulging one may be harmful to you. The damage may be to your spirit and motivation, to your health and safety, or simply to your wallet; An ill-informed path could also be a lengthy detour away from reaching your goals.

    In this society of consumerism, soulless marketing, and gross opportunism, we often need to squint to see past the artificial shine of the brightest lights. As our eyes refocus and our minds adjust, the true path becomes clear.

    “Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn.”C.S. Lewis (British Scholar and Novelist. 1898-1963)

    Many things in life can be faked, and when there is money to be made, many will try to fake them.

    The composure, efficacy, and presence of viable experience cannot be faked, but are often mistaken; Look for those that have put theory into practice, refined the process, and then done it again.

    Referring to the topics at hand: If someone doesn’t care enough to suffer and fight for progress, then they haven’t learned enough to teach for profit.