I remember reading an article that mentioned Muhammad Ali’s approach to pushups and situps. In this article the author stated that Ali didn’t count the pushups or situps until they started to hurt, then he would start counting. This was because until he pushed past the number he was already strong enough to already do, he wasn’t getting anything out of the exercise.
I want to use this as a thought on training in martial arts, but with a slightly different focus.
I want to look at training on the days when you are too tired or short on time or bogged down with problems, or in other ways simply not feeling up to the task.
Obviously, if you have the flu and are contagious you should stay home. That is a given and it is absolutely arrogant and inconsiderate to place the health of others at risk.
But those other times, when you are distracted by other issues – that is the perfect time to train.
In the wild, the tiger on the hunt does not look to bring down the biggest and healthiest prey; instead, they attack the weak, the sick and those unable to keep up with the herd.
Human predators are not that different. They are most certainly not looking for a fight. They are looking for the reward. And the will not be looking to attack the person who is looking strong, healthy, aware, and confident.
If you feel you are good in your style of martial art or self-protection on the days you are up for the class, awesome! Now be awesome when you are just not feeling like being there. Be great when you have some out of the ordinary pressure at work or are less than 100% in some other way. In this way, training when you are at a disadvantage; distracted, not up to it, or not in the mood to go through this, you are getting training that really counts.