30 Day Challenge/Day 29: Five Minutes A Day

Yes, by now if you, the reader has gone through some or all of the articles in this 30 Day Challenge you are probably very aware of this “Five Minutes a Day!” slogan. I’m a huge proponent of the training concept. No, I didn’t come up with it and frankly I’m not sure what really inspired me to become so deeply engrossed with it. All I know is that I truly believe in the benefits. I do know the “One thing” aspect of it came from “Curly” in the movie City Slickers. In the attempts to improve mental fitness, I found it easier to avoid distractions by just focusing on one thing. So that tells you how long I have been campaigning for “Five Minutes a Day.” I’m sure it has been longer but I know after seeing that movie I started more focusing on “one thing.”

Now, one thing can be considered differently; one “Master Key,” one Basic, one exercise, one Form/Set, one Technique Pattern, etc. and then technically we can consider working both “sides.” Also, it doesn’t require that all Five Minutes be at the continuous. You could break it up throughout the day, if your lifestyle permitted. I often share with the kids about how to training their “Training Position.” We discuss brushing your teeth. For most it is 2 times a day and recommended 2 minutes at a time. What do most people do while brushing their teeth. Stand at the sink. So we could sink into our Training Position while brushing our teeth and we gain multiple benefits. Cleaner and healthier gums/teeth, stronger legs, stronger posture and we have trained 4 minutes of the five. Now we just need to fit in another minute of the same or something else. If we did this for a few weeks, our position would really be established.

I then like to do the permutations with the students. I will ask how many times can they repeat something like “Blocking Set” in a minute. For most we can say an average of 4 times. Multiply that by Five minutes and we get 20. If we trained the Five Minutes a Day for just the five week days we would get 100 times that week and only used 25 minutes outside of class for personal training. However we have again done the set 100 times and this is truly valuable in our overall improvement. Doing anything 100 times really helps, if we do more it continues to help. Now as we get more confident with our ability and understanding we need to work on different aspects or we will start to get diminishing returns. The value of just doing minutes without intent will not provide us incremental improvement. We must focus on what we are working to improve.

Although not entirely proven they state if we do anything for 21 days we develop a “habit.” For us, I prefer that we have a focused intent and that by establishing our ACTIONs, we set behaviors and it’s our behaviors that guide us toward our destiny. (See Day 17.)

I have to admit for years even though I campaigned for this concept, I probably didn’t “eat my own cooking” as I was on the mat almost every day. I played judge and jury and of course found myself “not guilty” when it came to training. However, when I looked in the mirror I realized I wasn’t quite as sharp as I should be. I again excused this, do to aging. In every aspect I had an acceptable excuse except they were just that excuses. So I got back to my “beginner’s attitude” I looked at everything as if it were new and required improvement. Now close to 5 years later, things feel a whole lot better. I’m healthier, more excited and fully enjoying each and every training moment. My confidence (which some would say I have plenty of) once again has me even more committed after 43 years of training. Often times, I see students who are unprepared allow their own doubts and lack of confidence discourage themselves and completely end their training. Their sense of ease has been conflicted by their own lack of preparation and so easily could have been reduced with just a few minutes of focus each day.