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I’m currently working with a close friend of mine, who’s a martial artist, on a martial arts themed website. While we were working, we took a break and spurred for a while. At first I was using a lot of energy and force, as opposed to technique, and although I got some progress in my position, I got tired really fast and obviously lost.

To be honest I never expected to win because my friend is almost like a black belt level whereas I am barely a white belt. So loosing was not the problem. The problem was that I lost, was completely hurt and exhausted and I didn’t learn anything. Even worst, I thought I was doing pretty well.


Then my friend, who has 13 years of martial arts training under his belt, told me “Neil you’re doing it all wrong”, and suggested that I avoid using any muscle power and try to focus on technique. In other words he was telling me to work smart not hard.

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We “rolled” for another round and this time I applied his advice. Consequently I lost even faster than before. In fact, I got submitted much faster, but I wasn’t hurt or tired and I actually learned a couple of new techniques. The next round I still got easily submitted but I was a tiny bit better than the ┬áprevious round – and that’s progress!
That experience taught me a very important lesson. Namely that Only when I allowed myself to let go of my ego and concentrate on learning rather than winning, I made progress.