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Train as if someone is recording you

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When I first started karate my instructor told a story in class about a student he observed training on his own.  He'd arrived at the dojo during a time when no class was scheduled, gone onto the floor and undergone a 1 1/2 hour training session so disciplined, so focused that my instructor had watched the entire thing, transfixed.

Never once did the student break concentration or pause for a rest: he just kept repeating the same movements, one after the other, so that he went well into, and over, his VO2 max.  Watching himself in the mirror, he'd only move on to another technique once he'd achieved whatever (high) standard he'd set.

At the end, he finished his last technique, moved to "yamae" and remained motionless for a minute, his breathing ragged, his body so drenched with sweat that his gi had become translucent.  Then he bowed. and left the floor.
All without a word.
Over the years I've pondered this anecdote considerably - often wondering whethe…