Finding Peace in violence

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If you tell people you do jiu-jitsu or any other kind of martial arts, it usually comes with a variety of actions.Most people that do not practice martial arts or have no experience with it may look at it as violence, or simply just don’t understand why you would pay money to fight people for fun, but that couldn’t be more untrue.There is something that attracts so many people with a variety of backgrounds to martial arts, and it may be the biggest benefit that comes from practicing these arts on a regular basis.

If you told someone you could find peace in violence, they wouldn’t understand. Only the people that have experienced it first hand, or know someone that has changed as a person in a positive way because of it, are the only ones to truly understand the benefits we experience from doing a “violent” sport. The best times to train are when you are going through tough times, as it is likely most of you have experienced this. It is a lot tougher to motivate yourself to go train in those rough moments in life, no matter what the situation may be, but it is very likely you will receive the best benefits from your training if you can push yourself to make it there.

We all have the constant thoughts and worries about life that we get on a consistent basis that can send us in a downward spiral, but training is the one thing that can take our minds off this. If you are having a bad day, week, month, or year – go train. This is not the time to take a break from training because you have too much going on. Training is one of the few things that can totally take your mind off those negative thoughts and bring you into the present moment. In my opinion, this is why a lot of individuals over-train. Being on the mats is the only place where they can truly relax mentally and physically, and be in the present moment.

The benefits go beyond being on the mat too. It actually does make you be a more peaceful and calm person, especially in high stress situations. Do you remember how you reacted to stressful or negative situations before you started training? How about when you are training on a consistent basis? It is night and day difference for most people. As a result of your mind being in a more peaceful place, the way you act will be too.

Have you ever wondered why jiu-jitsu and martial arts has such a diverse population of people who practice it? This is why! We are all going through struggles in life, and this is the place where we can be at peace. If you don’t have a good support system at home or in life, your teammates will always be there for you no matter what, and this goes for wins and losses in life and on the mats. Your teammates become your family as quickly as you are open to it. Remember that the next time you are going through challenging times. Go train!

10 White Belt Tips


Here is a small list of tips and recommendations for the beginner student, aimed to help them make the most out of classes, stay injury free, and stick with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for the long run.


1. Be a good drilling partner. Allow your partner to learn the mechanics and timing of the technique, help them, give them your feedback.

Move naturally offering just enough resistance, so they can practice the technique and develop their reflexes.

Drilling is different than live rolling, so don’t try to counter the technique they are just learning, but at the same time, don’t be too lazy and just lie down like a dead man. Find a good balance where both of you are engaged in the activity.


2. Tap on your partner, NOT on the mat. This is a big one, especially if you are rolling with another beginner.

Chances are that your partner is so focused on the submission that they won’t hear or see you tapping if you tap on the mat.


They won’t even know that the submission is getting tighter, so you may end up getting hurt or choked out unconscious.

On the rare occasion where both of your arms are trapped, and you can’t tap on your partner with your hands, make sure you stomp your feet hard on the mat repeatedly so they can hear it and stop the submission. Verbally submitting is also another option if you are able to.


3. Don’t wait until it hurts. As a beginner, you are still discovering the limits of your body.

You may think that just because a joint lock submission is not “hurting enough,” you should keep trying to escape and not tap. You may be able to escape, but that’s gonna take a toll on your body, keeping you on the sidelines for weeks or even months.

Remember, if it’s hurting it is because it’s already damaging. By the way, some submissions don’t even hurt that much, like toeholds and heel hooks, so if you wait too long, something is gonna pop!


4. Master the bridge and the hip escapes. These are the 2 most important movements to master in order to develop a great escaping game.

If you are a beginner, you are gonna find yourself under Mount and Side Control quite often, and a lot of your time is gonna be spent trying to escape from these positions.

The good news is that almost all escapes are based on those 2 movements.

Execute the Bridge to unbalance your opponent, and Hip Escape to create distance between you and them.


5. There is no magic pill. I often hear students asking “what’s the secret to becoming good at Jiu Jitsu?”

Well, it’s the same secret of becoming good/successful at anything: persistence, consistency, resilience, hard work, dedication, willingness to learn… that’s how you get good at Jiu Jitsu.

Jiu Jitsu can be very complex and overwhelming at times, even after receiving your Black Belt you still feel like there is so much more to learn and master… it’s definitely a lifelong journey.


6. Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast. When you are drilling techniques make sure you don’t skip any steps, drill them slowly so that the correct motor patterns are ingrained.

If you don’t remember a step or detail, ask your instructor for help. Quality reps are more important than quantity.

Once you have been able to execute the move perfectly several times, then you can start adding speed, as long as you are maintaining perfect form.

Pushing your nervous system to perform faster than it’s trained to will simply cause you to fumble what you’re doing.


7. Master how to do break falls and forward/backwards rolls. These are the 2 most important drills to be learned in order to prevent injuries.

Learning how to break fall is absolutely crucial in Jiu Jitsu, as otherwise you will get hurt sooner or later, guaranteed.

Also, it’s an important skill to have in your daily life. It saved people a few times when they were skateboarding for example.

Learning how to execute forward and backwards rolls are also essential for your safety. Knowing how to tuck your chin and roll over your shoulder will save your neck from devastating injuries.


8. Be open-minded. The more you know, the better.

Learn all aspects of Jiu Jitsu, with no judgement. Self-defense, sport, gi, no-gi, leg locks, takedowns, top game, bottom game.

Sure, eventually you may have your preferences, but why limit your knowledge?


9. Don’t compare your progress to others. You are unique and have your own journey.

Some students train 3x per week, some train 3x a day. Some are athletic and young, some are older and have physical limitations. Some will get their blue belts in under a year, some will take 10 years.

Just do the best you can do, be the best you can be, and remember tip #5.


10. Don’t let your emotions take over, especially when you are in a bad position. If you panic or let your opponent know that you are tired or feeling uncomfortable, they will be able to exploit that and make things even worse, eventually overwhelming you.

Train your mind to stay calm and relaxed while working your way out using the techniques you have learned, step by step, so if you ever need to use them in a real-life situation outside of the gym, you will be able to think and act sharply under pressure.

5 Reasons You Should Start Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at Premier

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One of the best ways to start the year right is by putting your New Year’s resolutions into action. If getting in shape is part of your list, why not try BJJ? Not only is it a great workout, it also teaches you self-defense, among many other awesome things. If you’re ready to take your fitness journey to the next level, here’s 5 Reasons Why You Should Start Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at Premier.

1) Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is for everybody

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You don’t have to be physically fit or under 50 to start training BJJ. Virtually anybody, regardless of age, gender or fitness level can start training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Because it’s designed to empower the smaller, weaker individual, you’ll discover that the techniques you learn will work against someone much stronger and heavier – it’s amazing!

 

2) Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu will put you in the best shape of your life

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If lifting weights and doing cardio in a gym isn’t for you, perhaps you should consider Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Without even realizing it, you’ll work every single muscle in your body from the warm-ups to drills to sparring. Unlike other martial arts, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu requires resistance – you’re constantly pushing or pulling your training partner as you practice techniques over and over again!

 

3) Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is an art you can practice for the rest of your life

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As we mentioned in #1, anyone can start training BJJ and keep on training as long as they like. Also known as “the gentle art”, BJJ is a lifestyle that one could continue to enjoy well into the later years of his/her life. Helio Gracie, one of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu’s forefathers practiced jiu-jitsu until his death at 95 years of age. In fact, the IBJJF, or the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation, established a tournament for BJJ practitioners over the age of 30.

 

4) Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu will make you a better person

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There’s a reason why only a very small percentage of BJJ practitioners will get their black belt – not everyone has the perseverance to keep on training for 10 years to receive it. But the more you train BJJ, the more you understand the value of resilience. Although there’s instant gratification from performing a technique properly in sparring, it will take many, many tries before getting a technique right. This will teach you how to follow through, an equally useful quality off the mats.

 

5) Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu will challenge you

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Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is also known as the game of human chess. It will teach you how to harness both your physical and mental strength and apply it in sparring. You will learn countless techniques, and over your years of training, you’ll see them evolve right before your very eyes. You will spar many different training partners and become exposed to many different styles of Jiu-Jitsu, teaching you the importance of being well rounded. Before you know it, you’ll find yourself analyzing your every move, both on and off the mats.

So what are you waiting for? Take the challenge of your life and start your BJJ journey this year!

A Martial Arts Parent

One of my friends asked "Why do you pay so much money and spend so much time running around for your child to do Martial Arts ?" Well I have a confession to make: I don't pay for my child's martial arts lessons. Or their boxing gloves, sparring gear & uniforms. Or the gradings.

So, if I am not paying for martial arts, what am I paying for?

- I pay for those moments when my kids become so tired they feel like quitting but don't.. 
- I pay for the opportunity that they can have and will have to make life-long friendships. 
- I pay for the chance that they may have amazing instructors that will teach them that martial arts is not just about movement but about life.
- I pay for my kids to learn to be disciplined. 
- I pay for my kids to learn to take care of their body. 
- I pay for my kids to learn to work with others and to be a proud , supportive, kind and respectful team member.
- I pay for them to learn to deal with disappointment, when they don't get that stripe they hoped for, or fell during a move they practiced a thousand times, but still get up and are determined to do their BEST next time...
- I pay for them to learn to make and accomplish goals. 
- I pay for them to learn that it takes hours and hours and hours and hours of hard work and practice to create a black belt or a champion, and that success does not happen overnight. 
- I pay so that my children can be on the mats instead of in front of a screen...

I could go on but, to be short, I don't pay for martial arts; I pay for the opportunities that martial arts provides my child to develop attributes that will serve them well throughout their life and give them the opportunity to bless the lives of others.

From what I have seen for many, many years, I think it is a great investment!

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Warrior Spirit

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As students its important that our training is consistent, we also need to develop more than simply the next technique. We have a duty to train to be strong in both mind and body and work to maintain our focus and strength throughout each week.

Here are some of the few things we look for when developing that “Warrior Sprirt” in our students at Premier:

GRIT. This is the perseverance, the will & toughness to push forward in spite of adversity. We encourage firmness of character within our students, an indomitable spirit and courage. Don’t forget that means mental toughness and perseverance too, not just physical strength.

BLACK BELT ATTITUDE. This can take many different versions of a definition, but often we are saying the same thing. A Black belt Attitude is polite, courteous, and respectful. Be on time. Be humble. The list often goes on.

RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR OWN TRAINING. As a beginning white belt, the majority of responsibility to improve first sits on the instructor's shoulders along with their ability to teach. As the students advance though, responsibility should begin to shift to the student. They must be accountable to push themselves to continue to learn and to be increasingly better martial artists. They should take ownership of their journey, and not simply depend on their instructor to direct them. Introduce practice habits, goal setting and self-analysis.

When you focus on these three areas on and off the mat, you will begin to take pride and ownership of your training. you will begin to push boundaries and feel accomplished or satisfied in your training.

7 Awesome Tips To Make You A Formidable White Belt

Blog post taken from: BJJ World

Being a white belt in Jiu-Jitsu is a difficult period. No matter how much you thought you knew about BJJ, you’re inevitably going to be shocked. After surviving “initiation”, or being destroyed by everyone, you start to comprehend the complexity of it all. It is as difficult psychologically as it is physically to keep pushing through. It is, undoubtedly, the only way forward and it is more than worth it to endure. Believe me, I know, I went through all of it too.

A white belt has a long road in front of them. Have no illusions, it is going to take around a decade before you get to strap the black around your waist. Now, knowing that it is going to require blood, sweat, time and sacrifices, are you still willing to persevere? If you decide that you are, here are 7 crucial tips that will make your life easier at white belt:

1. Accept The White Belt Struggles

Get to terms with the fact that you’re at the bottom of the food chain. BJJ takes time, there’s no way around it. So do not get discouraged at your apparent lack of success. Although you might consider tapping so often a failure, you’re in fact, improving with every second spent on the mats.It is completely normal to “lose” to higher belts. Actually, accept that you’re going to get beat by more experienced white belts as well. After all, they do have more experience (however slightly) and more knowledge than you. What is inevitable is that you will catch up, or even surpass them. You only need to keep working and do not get discouraged. Like everything else in life, you have to start slowly and gain momentum as you go. Trust me, nobody is perfect from the start.

2. Take It Easy On Yourself

As much as you might be a perfectionist, you will never, ever be flawless at Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. This is another extremely important notion that you have to understand from the get-go. After all, perfection is a moving target that can never be completely reached.

In BJJ everyone makes mistakes. Even black belts are capable of making a wrong move or two. As a white belt, you will be prone to mistakes more than any other belt. You can’t expect anything else from an art where opponents actually try to force you to make errors. Instead of getting furious with yourself over doing something stupid, accept it as part of BJJ and move on. Dwelling upon it is not going to make you better. Learning from it is. Trust me, you will never repeat the mistakes you make in competition unless you sulk over them.

3. Constant Curiosity

The defining trait of a white belt should be constant question asking. White belt is the time to be curious about everything and anything. There are no stupid questions when you are a beginner and you should not shy away from asking them.

First and foremost, instructors are not divine creatures that you can’t approach. Quite the opposite, they should be the person you talk to most during class. Never be unsure about asking your instructor anything about BJJ. They are there for that very reason, to try and make things clear for you. The best way to gather knowledge is to inquire about things that you do not completely comprehend.

Apart from your instructors, higher ranked belts are also there to clear up uncertainties. Ask your training partners every time you’re unsure about a move or technique.

4. Everyone Is A Good Partner

Whether it is rolling, drilling or just learning new moves, as a white belt, you cannot be picky about who you train with. It is simple, everyone is a good fit regardless of belt level.

The more people you work with, the more experience you will gain. The aim should be to work with as many different kinds of people as possible. Both heavier and lighter partners, members of the opposite sex, beginners and advanced students, no one is out of bounds. This kind of diversity will teach you how to act in as many different situations as possible and help you grow much faster.

Not every move works the same for everyone. Higher belts are more experienced and will see you coming from a mile away. If you’re not a lanky person, your triangle won’t work on that broad-shouldered giant with the blue belt. And, despite being heavier, you won’t even know where that brown belt girl is when she kicks your ass. So, gather as much experience as you can, because it will be the foundation to build your own game later on.

5. Do Not Underestimate The Warm Up

The warm-up is by far the most despised part of BJJ class. People do all sorts of things just to get around those boring 20 minutes or so. Well, guess what? It is the wrong thing to do and that holds true in particular for white belts. 

It is needless to say that turning up to class late just to skip the warm up is unacceptable. It is disrespectful towards your instructor, the academy, and your training partners. Slacking your way through the warm-up is even worse! Does it really take that much to really engage? After all, you’re already there.

Apart from getting you ready for the upcoming training session and preventing injuries, they have an even more important role. In BJJ, warm-ups often consist of movements specific to the art. As a white belt, your focus should be mostly on mastering the basic movement patterns of BJJ. So, you need to take warming up seriously in order to have any hope of advancing in the art. You’re doing the work for you, not your instructors so buckle up and show some enthusiasm!

6. There’s Nothing Scary About The Higher Belts

Despite all the memes suggesting that white belts are only food and the higher belts are hungry, circling sharks, this is not the case. Well, no completely. The fact that you’re on the bottom of the food chain shouldn’t be a reason to avoid more advanced students.

Rolling with your peers or people near your level is a recipe for disaster when you are a white belt. Despite being extremely humbling and uncomfortable, you need the experience from those rolls. It is the best way to learn what not to do, which is kind of the point at white belt. Later on, you’ll be the one inflicting the discomfort, but that comes only after being on the receiving end. Moreover, when it is time for drills, it is wiser to look for a more experienced partner. That way you’ll get a partner who knows what they’re doing, as well as someone to consult during the drills. Again, do not hesitate to ask higher ranked partners anything. They all went through what you’re going through and are generally more than willing to help out.

7. Keep Showing Up

To end with, nothing is going to help you learn BJJ as fast as consistency. There’s no better advice than to just keep showing up for class. Get as many hours under your belt as you can, and it’ll start changing colors in no time.

That said, there’s no need for A white belt to pull off double sessions in a day. Make sure you train at least 4 times a week, and that your time in classes spent wisely. Ask lots of questions, be mindful when drilling and be on time to warm up. All those confusing names of the moves and elusive details will become much clearer if you are consistent with your training.

Team up

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Training at Premier BJJ, the ultimate goal is to make it to Black Belt. Black Belt means you are now a serious student and the real learning begins.

For most adults a BJJ Black Belt takes about 7 to 10 years of consistent training, kids will be considerably longer. That can be a long time and obstacles, roadblocks, and challenges are likely to pop up. So when this happens should we throw in the towel and quit? NO WAY!

For juniors there can be temporary periods when their interest and motivation dips. This can happen for a number of reasons. Their progress might be off track because they were sick or on holiday. They may be discouraged because one of their friends earned a stripe and they didn’t.

This is a chance for us to team up and strengthen their character. Quitting can become a habit no one wins when a child gives up on a goal or themselves. So the next step is to work together to find out what the issue is and team up to fix it. When obstacles pop up, communication between the parents and instructors should be the next step!

For adults the challenges could be an injury, a busy work schedule, or stinkin' thinkin' which can lead to hardening of the attitude. Again, this is time to increase the communication. We are confident that when we put our heads together we can come up with a solution and keep you on the climb towards Black Belt!

Tony Robbins says, “There is always a way if you are committed.”

Thank you for trusting Premier with your development, we wont let you down.

The Impact of Memories

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As a martial arts teacher, I interact daily with lots of people. I’m acutely aware that as a teacher, I have a certain amount of influence with my students, of course more with some than with others. Although I may not always succeed, I try to leave them a bit better from our interaction. Whether its a class, a formal progress check or just a quick mat conversation, I do my best to give them my full attention and to leave them with a “nugget” when I have one to give. Hopefully, I’m creating some positive memories. Perhaps sometimes it might not even quite be a memory, it might be just a feeling, nothing they can put their finger on, just a sense of acceptance from someone they might respect. I have had a lot of really great role models, people who have created positive memories for me and who, for one reason or another, have really made an impact on how I live and view my life.

Like most people, I have also experienced, first hand, examples of really poor role models. I’ve seen people demonstrate exactly how to create a bad memory for someone else. I’ll never forget the first day of in a new junior school.  After being introduced to the class by my new teacher, I was shown to my desk. It was the place that I would spend my days for the next several months. My first interaction with another student was when William, the kid to my right, put gum on my seat. Then, at break time, he called me out. I didn’t even know what that meant, but I knew it couldn’t be good. He had to explain it to me.

Over time, I learned that William was pretty harmless. A lot of bark, but that was about it. I ended up making plenty of new friends and school turned out okay after all.

I wasn’t traumatised for life by William (although the fact that I’m sharing the story now is probably a bit telling). I just didn’t like him. Ever. We went to school together for years. At one point, in an effort to become friends, he even invited me over to his house to play. However nice he was to me, I just couldn’t forget the memory of trying to remove gum from the seat of my school trousers without looking stupid.

If William walked in to my academy today to say “Hi,” would I want to give him a “Private lesson” and show him what I’ve spent my life practicing? Honestly, no. But…we were kids. It was just junior school. We all did stupid stuff back then. Most of us probably still do. So, if William, walked into my school today to say “Hi,” I would greet him warmly, talk of old times and then wish him well, sincerely. But, it wouldn’t be the same as seeing Robert, the kid who stuck up for me on the playground, or Miss Elledge the teacher who encouraged me when I really needed it.

We all are creating memories for others every day, those of us that are teachers even more so.

Years from now, when those you used to know, those you used to teach, see your picture or hear your name, what memory is going to rise in them? Let’s make some memories.

Thanks William, Robert & Miss Elledge for the great lessons.

Why did I Start Training?

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I love my profession. I’m extremely proud to call myself a Martial Arts Instructor. I believe that one of the most important factors that will increase my student’s success in Martial Arts, or anything else for that matter, is my own belief that they can succeed.

Do you remember your first “white belt moment” – a moment or epiphany early in your journey when things clicked into place for even an instant and you realised for the first time “I can really do this” or you thought “Jiu Jitsu is for me!”? I remember my first Taekwondo lesson when I was only 7 years old: my instructor taught me a punch and a front kick. At the time there was a bully at my school that was making life unpleasant for me and many of my friends. Although I never had to use it, I clearly remember the moment of learning the techniques, thinking it was the coolest thing I’d ever seen, and instantly feeling more confident and empowered, and i never looked back. I was hooked on all martial arts and over the past 12 years Jiu Jitsu has been my obsession.

I’m sure you have a similar “white belt moment” or “ah-ha” where everything clicked into place for you emotionally, mentally, and physically. What was it? What was its lasting impression on you? How did it steer you towards your current path as a martial artist?

There may not be only one white belt moment that we remember either. Many moments may have combined together to set you on your path and purpose. Just as you can remember this moment or series of moments, what is so wonderful about what I do is that I like to think I create similar memories for others every day with my students, families, even for myself!

It’s important to remind ourselves of these types of moments – the sparks that ignited our passion, or the reasons why we fell in love with the lifelong journey of Martial Arts. This week, reflect on the following questions:

  • What prompted me to start training?

  • What was my first “white belt moment”? What goals did I want to achieve at that time?

  • What goals do I still have today?

  • Who was that positive person who guided me along my martial arts journey?

  • If you are an instructor, are you that positive person for your students?

  • Would I be the same person now if I did not train at all?

  • What does it mean to me to share white belt moments with my students?

  • What will nurture my instructor enthusiasm with my students so every class feels as exciting as my first class?

7 Habits of Highly Effective People

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I remember the first time I got my hands on a self-improvement book, I had just turned 25 and I was baffled. At that moment I realised my fate was not set in stone. I could become my own drill master and coach. The books I read would set out the training course for me to overcome. All I had to do was listen to that voice that aspired to climb higher and higher. Every time I committed to a new challenge I knew it was going to be outside my comfort zone, but after enough iterations, I also knew it will not just be part of my repertoire, it will be part of me. While I acknowledge some inherent dangers in the concept of self-improvement, I still believe in the beauty of self-directing your life. 

The title of this book doesn’t capture it all. Covey shares with us seven habits one should adapt to become truly effective in whatever you would like to achieve. Of course, it is not as easy as it sounds. He stresses the fact that we need to go through a paradigm shift – a fundamental change in how we perceive the world and ourselves. This book can be read as a guide, with practices and everything, to go through the stages in order to make such a shift happen. Part shock-therapy, part ageless spiritual wisdom, Covey’s book is packed with wisdom that actually makes a difference. And, as I mentioned, don’t let the title of the book fool you; it is about much more than just becoming more effective. It is about becoming a person who not only seeks the best in oneself, but also in the people around them. A must read for anyone who feels there is always something left to learn.

Balance of a Martial Artist

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The ideal martial arts instructors are always where they are supposed to be, when they are supposed to be there, physically, mentally, and emotionally. They are not irrational or imbalanced, regardless of personal circumstances, are able to lead by example with the qualities of a champion. This is something we should all be continually striving for on our journeys.

Balance is a critical piece of this puzzle. In order to be an outstanding Martial Artist, one must have a good sense of balance. If you lose your balance in a fight, you could easily lose the fight. The keys to maintaining your emotional balance are to stay calm, centered and focused even when faced with extreme difficulty at hand. The parallel human quality to balance is rationality. To be rational means to think logically and clearly without emotion.

You can always find a reason to be irrational or emotional....especially if you are looking for one. Have you ever known someone that is easily offended...someone that practically looks for reasons to get upset? I thought so. Me too.

How about someone that can remain calm in a chaotic situation or rarely takes personal offense to anything...? Someone that gives others the benefit of the doubt and does not take things personal or with poor emotion? Yeah. Me too.

So today's question is... Which person are you? Which person do you want to be? How can you channel your inner champion by remaining calm in an otherwise challenging spot?