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Mark Moran
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The Reason Chinese Wushu Athletes Are So Good (12/19) – Part 3/3

So, we are almost there. But in my book there is one more ingredient that separates many great athletes from the rest of us common folk.

Continued from Part 2

Raising the Bar

OuchRaising more than just her barAnd what is that final ingredient? Well, it has to do with one’s standards of excellence.

The athletes in China don’t really know any standard other than that of being the best. They are surrounded by athletes who have the highest level in the world and train with them every day of their lives. They have no option but to accept that the level they see around them is the base level for a wushu athlete. There is no “intermediate” wushu athletes on a professional team. “Advanced” is considered the starting point and you only go up from there.

It is as they say: if you believe you can or can’t, you are right. One’s belief system about the world and about themselves dictates their reality, and if your belief is that the lowest level of acceptable wushu is (by our standards) perfection, then you will tolerate nothing less. It isn’t even an option for them. It is just a given. Like the sky being blue or water being wet. Wushu is supposed to look like that, plain and simple, and if it doesn’t, then you aren’t doing wushu.

The Equation

And so, to me, these are the essential elements that separate really amazing athletes from, well, … the rest of us. As I wrote at the beginning:

((Ai/T) +((C*R)+M))(CrI+S)

Which, in normal English could be said as:

I ntense A ction over T ime when added with a C oach providing the latest R esources and the M odeling of excellence, is multiplied by one’s Cr eative I ntelligence and high S tandards.

But then, what does that mean to the rest of us? And how is this applicable to the average Joe (or Joan) who is the weekend wushu warrior far away from China?

Applying It To Ourselves

Well, lets look a little more carefully at how our world compares with those of the Chinese athlete. Of those aspects of the equation, which ones apply to us?

*Intensity

*Action (Training)

*Time (Consistency)

*Coaching

*Resources

*Modelling

*Creative Intelligence

*Standards

The biggest limiting factor for most of us is “Time”. Either because of finances or availability, most of us aren’t able to dedicate 5 hours of every day to wushu. But while Time is one of the main factors, it is definitely not the ONLY factor, and many athletes have gotten excellent results on limited availability of time. And, if I can be frank, a lot of people use “time” as an excuse to not commit to their training.  I’ve been guilty of it myself.  But the truth is, if you want to make the time for something, you can.  If it is important to you, then you will do it.  But don’t make the mistake of deceiving yourself that your lack of interest in wushu is actually a lack of time for wushu, because you aren’t fooling anyone.  Its okay to lose your interest in something, but at least be honest about it.  (And if you lose your passion for wushu, then might I suggest reading my blog “ How to Maintain Your Motivation for Training (12/14)”?)

IMG_9848.JPGI think she's go the whole 'intensity' thing down“Intensity” is also a tricky one for many of us. We are often in schools where the other students are not as dedicated or interested in wushu as we are. Or perhaps they are just doing it for fun. Be that as it may, our intensity level does not have to be dictated by the whims of others and if you don’t create an intense training environment for yourself (even if it is in your own head), then waiting for someone else to do it for you can be a long time coming. You can create the intensity for yourself, even if your environment doesn’t provide it. So it is really only limiting if we allow it to be.

Another factor that limits many of us is “Resources”. Many of us aren’t in China and don’t have access. Or we don’t speak Chinese so even if we had access we wouldn’t understand it. This is one of the reasons having a good Coach is very important. Often they have an understanding of the technologies and developments of wushu that we do not have access to. And even if you don’t have a coach on a regular basis, taking full advantage of whatever resources you have (online, seminars, instructional videos, etc) can go a long way.

And finally I think that “modelling” has been an issue for a lot of people too. I remember when I first started that the only people I had to model myself after were those that had been doing wushu for just a few years longer than myself. Then it was up to the coach to show us what good wushu was supposed to look like. But thanks to the advent of these series of tubes we call the internet (brought to you courtesy of Al Gore) you now have access to the best wushu athletes and the highest standards of excellence that ever existed. I would never say that youtube should be a substitute for a good coach, but it can help you find those upon which you can model your own training. Not quite as good as being in the same room as Zhao Qing Jian, of course, but it is better than nothing.

But then, after we take out all the limiting factors, what is left? Assuming you are in the middle of nowhere without a coach and no access to the internet (how are you reading this then?) you end up with …

*Intensity

*Action (Training)

*Creative Intelligence

*Standards

IMG_4427.JPGTrying to keep that intensity whenever I trainAnd there you have it. The aspects of training that we ALL have the ability to develop, regardless of our situation. We might not have a lot of time, or a coach, or access to resources or those we can model, but we do have some of the most important elements of what gives Chinese athletes their unique abilities.

You can create an intensity of training for yourself every time you step in to the wushu guan (or gym or park or wherever you are).

You can train and take action to improve yourself regardless of whether or not you are in China or have a coach.

You can utilize your own creative intelligence to develop an understanding of the intricate details of wushu.

And you can raise your standards so that you accept nothing but the best from yourself.

If you develop these aspects of your training methodology, then when you DO have those other resources, coaches, available time or models of excellence, you will be able to take full advantage of them.

The great thing about developing these attributes is that it doesn’t just apply to your wushu training, but it applies to all areas of your life. And the skills you develop in honing these skills will benefit you in so many more ways than you can imagine.

Jiayou! (加油!)

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about 11 years ago 0 likes  3 comments  0 shares
Photo 105033
Jiayou! I love being a weekend wushu warrior....We train 3 times a week at gym - 2hrs at a time....the rest of the week is up to us....to improve our skills.... But the lack of good teachers / coaches is really a problem here - and that 's why I thrive on the video clips and instructional videos online..... But your post has made it's point.....intensity, dedicaton and self motivation - intelligent disciplined training - can bring you far. So what's the future for a 40year old Wushu Mama?
about 11 years ago
Photo 28042
With all the wushu athletes training at any given time in China it is strange that so few of them have made it to America to be teachers/start schools. Is it that hard to emigrate? In all of the photos and videos you have posted I sense no lack of enthusiasm or intensity at the school. At least for wushu.
about 11 years ago
Photo 23318
@flagday: so few china wushu athletes made it to america (US)? not really, there are a lot, and every year there are more and more coming... The US is by far the top country in the world after china for having the highest number of wushu coaches of all levels and generations...
about 11 years ago

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Languages Spoken
english, cantonese, mandarin, japanese
Location (City, Country)
Xian, China
Gender
male
Member Since
September 1, 2005