Keeping It Light & Playful


When it comes to training in martial arts, defensive tactics, shooting and many other things in life, most people think that trying harder and going faster seems like it would be the best way to get better. They will say things like: "That's the way someone would really attack you." or "What if I do THIS." They think that their own performance will increase if they just go a little harder and faster. Often one's ego is tied up too much in their training and the perceived problem, so their head gets wrapped up in fear, so they resist, they hang on. What are we afraid of? Fear of losing, fear of looking bad, fear of getting hurt, fear of violence, fear of not knowing, fear of a lot of things... fear of the unknown. And that fear leads us to do strange and often counter productive things.

I have heard echos of a different method. A way that takes guts, diligent effort, perseverance and a certain amount of faith. Here are some signposts along that path:

"Fast isn't fast. Slow is smooth, smooth is fast."


"I believe that everyone who trains jiu-jitsu knows how to go hard. We know how to fight for a dominant position and for a submission. What we need help with is how to relax, how to flow. We need help in our transitions and being efficient with our movements. The following information will make it clear why the Keep It Playful movement is so important and how you can Keep It Playful the next time you step on the mat." 

~Ryron Gracie

"Understand? Good. Play!"

~Masaki Hatsumi

It is difficult to slow down, relax and let go in practice and in life. However you will find that over time you will develop the new habit will help you to increase your performance and Keep Going.

If you plan on training for your entire life, you can't abuse your mind, body or spirit. So you have to keep most of your training healthy AND fun, or you'll just stop doing it. Yea, sure you have to ramp things up once in a while, get serious, go hard (while keeping it safe). However, the majority of your training you should... well, actually enjoy. If you don't, I don't know how you plan on doing it for any length of time. Chances are you WON'T!

I have been training (martial arts/defensive tactics) for over 35 years and I've seen literally thousands of people come and go, due to lack of interest/perspective, getting hurt or because of their egos.  There is a time to take things serious, but people tend to take themselves and their approach TOO seriously. The politics, the ego, the smack talk, the drama, the on-line "debates," the back stabbing, the "my style/system is better than yours" crap, blah, blah, blah... Here's what I have to say about that: Shut up and train! =)

If you are training to be a better protector, GREAT! Me too! We may have differences in opinions on the details (styles/approach), but if we are both training to protect everyone's LIFE VALUE, then we are at least going toward the same goal. I don't really care to debate who's punch is better or disarm is more effective. Yes I AM biased, I do the things the way I do because I do think it is the most efficient way (at least up to this point), otherwise I'd be doing those things another way. AND I'm sure you feel the same about what YOU'RE doing. I really don't want to get into a debate over these things. Those type of discussions typically end up like debating politics, philosophy and religion. I'd rather spend the time training.

Knowledge is knowing the difference between working hard and working smart. Wisdom is doing it!

~Craig Gray

I have to be honest: Sometimes I'm a wise man, other times I have to smarten up... But I'm getting better.

I guess I'll just Keep going!

All the best,


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