Winter Warrior Challenge: Week 8

Nearly there Warriors! This is the second to last challenge. Can you believe the season is so close? For this challenge, we will focus on the Foundational Pillar of Skill and it will be a Mental challenge.

Get your head in the game

For some background to the challenge, I’m sharing part of my journey to help provide perspective.

I’m a very dedicated learner. I wouldn’t claim to be fast. My masters past and present can speak to that. Bless them. But I am serious about learning. When I decide to learn a new skill I don’t stop till I have it. For example, I am now going into my third full season on developing the skill of blocking. That is a significantly large percentage of my fencing journey considering that this will also be my eleventh full season. You can math that out, but it’s a lot. I’ve spent some significant time over the last couple of years trying to think how to share that skill of tenacious dedication with you all because I really think it’s an important one to develop. So here I go.

The following are some truisms that I have found over the course of my journey.

  • First, there is no secret to developing greater skill when it comes to fencing. There is no magic pill. There are no short cuts.
  • Second, it takes real desire, not a wistful ‘oh I wish I was better.‘ You have to really want it and know why. Using the following formula helps: I want to develop (blank) skill, so that (desired result). The key is the ‘so that’ part. Without a goal, you can’t score. You need to know why you want to do what you’re trying to do so that you have a reason not to quit. This applies to life off the field as well.
  • Finally, it takes smart work. Not hard, smart.

These are some firm truths but that doesn’t mean the whole process has to be awful. For this challenge, I’m going to give you a few resources that have helped me and will help you if you use them. They will help you to get your head in the game when it comes to Skill. Hopefully, it will also make it more fun.

The Challenge

In Three PaRTS

1 – Watch this video by Mike Boyd.

This guy has a whole channel dedicated to learning as fast and as smart as you can. He’s brilliant to watch and so fun! He is Scottish too so the accent is nice. He kindly bleeps out the swears, but fair warning there are a few. His way of approaching things makes learning manageable and fun.

2 – Read or watch more on the Pomodoro Technique.

Mike Boyd talks about his actual time management method to reach his goals by explaining part of the Pomodoro Technique. Here is a Wiki on the Pomodoro, or you can watch this TED talk. They both cover it more fully. And both can be consumed in 5 minutes. They catch a few things that Mike leaves out in his description. But there are hundreds of articles and videos on this topic. If you find a great one please share it.

3 – Set a goal that is meaningful to you and has a ‘so that’ statement supporting it.

This is so that you have a reason not to quit. This link, SMART Goals, takes you to Kane’s wonderful article on that topic if you’d like more in-depth help. In addition to what he has said there, I strongly suggest sharing this goal with another person. You are more likely to complete your goal if you’ve said it out loud to someone else.

And that is it. Watch, watch or read, and set a ‘so that’ goal. Honestly, these methods and mentalities are how I do what I do. It has become so second nature to me that I don’t think of it as a process, but more a way of living. It’s a mental Skill. It has helped me and I believe it will help you both on and off the field.

Enjoy the journey and share what you learn along the way. I believe in you Winter Warriors! Shaky tail!