In the first part of this series discussing the Alliance Warrior Code, we introduced Honesty. We emphasized the importance of honesty, not only with others but just as importantly and often times more important, honesty with yourself.

Now, I would like to introduce the second value of the Alliance Warrior Code which is Work Ethic.

I still remember back in high school ( yes, I can remember that far back) when the theme for our off season training for football was, “Hard Work Pays Off!”. When we made “X” number of training sessions beyond the required minimum of required summer workouts, we received a t-shirt with the saying on it.

Likewise, another saying, “Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard!” really resonates with me because I never considered myself possessing any special talent in regards to sports.

As a kid, when it came to picking teams, I was usually one of the last ones picked. I even remember being laughed at by some of the other kids when I was asked to be a part of the track team. But, what helped and propelled me was  I learned at an early age that if I worked really hard, harder than everyone else, I got better. I remember even then of having a goal of working harder and longer than anyone else in the gym.

Which brings me to the term, “Grinder” that is used frequently, especially in the “workout” world. It refers to that person who may not be especially talented, but just keeps working hard, pushing through, and refusing to quit. When it comes to the people I derive the most joy from coaching, I have to say it is probably the “grinders”. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy working with the gifted athletes also, but I probably can relate to the “grinders” a little better.

Another thing I have learned the hard way about work ethic is that it is not just about working hard but also, about working smart and doing the right work.

Let’s take the basic exercises of the squat, Deadlift, and bench as examples. I can work really hard and allow my back to round in order to get one last rep on a Squat or Deadlift or I can let my shoulders move into a bad position to get five more pounds on the bench. I’ve done this on so many occasions I can’t count them, but I promise you it is not smart and eventually, you will pay either with stagnation in training or worse, an injury.

Working smart goes for martial arts training also. Throwing a punch or kick with sloppy technique can cause damage to your joints. In Jiujitsu, this concept can apply to consistently not tapping (saying “Uncle” to get your opponent now to break your arm) to joint locks when you know you are caught, but your ego gets the better of you. It can also, apply to the unwillingness to open up your game in training in order to learn more.

Again, these are all things I am working on myself. It is my goal to continue to learn and pass on my knowledge and experience so that your hard work is both smart and right for helping you reach your intended goals.

Lastly, hard work and in particular hard physical training can become a vehicle by which you can tap into what Mark Divine of SealFit articulates so well as the Five Mountains. The Five Mountains are:

1. Physical
2. Mental
3. Emotional
4. Intuition/ Awareness
5. Kokoro (Warrior Spirit)

Our goal at Alliance is to help everyone who chooses to train with us and follow the Warrior Path to tap into and maximize these Five Mountains.

One of the ways (although certainly not the only way) to push yourself further is to participate in challenges or competitions.

My first Jiu-Jitsu instructor and founder of Alliance, Jacare, has always encouraged his students to compete. His reasoning was that you grow and learn so much faster by competing. I would say that his approach has been successful in that Alliance, the team he founded and the one we are a part of, has won 11 world championships including the last 9 in a row including 2016, last weekend.

Much of what is learned from competing or participating in a challenge occurs not just during the competition but during preparation and training for the competition. The point is that if you just enter a competition just for the experience of the competition but you do not do the proper training preparing for the competition, then, you are missing a big part of the learning and growing experience.

In summary:
1.  If you are short on physical attributes (and everyone is at some point if they continue to test themselves at higher and higher levels), being a “Grinder” and working harder than the competition can take you a long way.
2.  If you are a “Gifted” Athlete, (and I am proud that we do have a number of gifted athletes at Alliance) working harder will take you further and into realms that others can only dream about. Please do not take your God given talent and attributes lightly and do not waste them on not working hard.
3.  And finally, for both Grinders and the Gifted Athletes, the hard work that is put into challenges and competitions can certainly provide a lift up the Five Mountains to Self-Actualization and Realization!

Embrace The Grind