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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.


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.