Building Shark Habits




We have discussed previously on many occasions the difficulties in training for the Multidisciplinary practitioner paradigm. We have so many components and (most of us) have so little free time that it often becomes a herculean effort to make sure we are doing the things we need to do. We have to figure out how each of us can best go about building good functional performance across the areas that we know are important. I have written previously about some ideas on how to do so:

Here is a series of YouTube videos where I discuss other methods and tricks :


So as you can see, I talk about this subject a  lot, because I know from firsthand experience how much effort it takes to accomplish our goal. I would like to add another way to get a step further along the pathway. Be a Shark.

What do I mean by this? It is something I read in an article by S&C coach extraordinaire Dan John. He talked about having a shark habit of taking a bite out of something that makes an impact. In other words, when a shark takes a bite out of a meal, it is not a small nibble; He commits to something big and immediately is on his way to having a good dinner. Dan John writes about the same approach to training (in his case, strength, conditioning, and diet). Rather than trying to do a bunch of little things, focus on something that can be done in a smaller package. For example, with the multi-disciplinary approach, maybe we make an effort to get good medical training to handle the emergencies that can come up in life. About 98% of the things we will ever be able to handle without hospital support can be learned in the basic one day Red Cross First Aid/CPR class, and a single one or two day “tac med” course. Then a bit of practice, and maybe take a refresher course every other year, and you will have that box easily checked off.

Or another, get a good introductory defensive pistol class (not a typical CCW class, but  a  full one day in depth class) and then take a weekend class with an experienced instructor who has taught a lot of folks like a Tom Givens. Those, along with some dry fire, some range work every now and then, as well as maybe a few competitions a year will cover almost every conceivable need with a pistol for self-defense.

In other words, we take a committed shark bite out of something specific and hyper-focused that will get us a good return.

We can also take Mr. John’s analogy a bit further. What other aspect of a shark is so obvious? How about the fact he is particularly single minded. He does not dither and lollygag. He wakes up and decides the most important thing to do is eat. He will then go after food until done. Nothing else gets in the way. We can use that idea as well.

Here is how we can implement that. Let’s say you are starting grappling, or wish to, and want to get in whatever work outside of class you are able to do. Rather than jump in and try to think you are going to practice 2 hours a night, and within two days you have already failed, let’s do it in smaller chunks. Here is my assignment for you: For one minute every day, you will do hip lifts and hip escapes solo (for tips, I have some videos on how to perform those movements on my YouTube channel). You will do that EVERY SINGLE DAY FOR AN ENTIRE MONTH. Don’t worry about any other training activity. If you have time to do other stuff, or just more of the solo grappling work, than fine. But don’t focus or even plan on it. All I want you to do is one single minute of non-stop work for one month.  If for some reason you miss a day, don’t worry about it. Just start the countdown all over. No big deal. We all have those moments. Once you have gone an entire month doing this without missing a day, THEN AND ONLY THEN will we add to the program.

When you have knocked the first month out, we can add more time, or a different piece of the puzzle. Say, pistol dry fire. But again, we are going for the bite size chunk, not trying to down the entire sea lion with one gulp. Whatever you add, make it realistic and doable.

We will continue this for a total of three months, adding one piece each month. At the end of three months of daily work, you need to stop, take a breath, and pat yourself on the back, because you have done a damn fine job of building new habits that you can continue for the rest of your life. Be proud, but don’t get lazy! Get back on the job, and keep building. The beautiful thing is that after three months, you will start to see some results, and you will also start to see how you can integrate more and more parts of the paradigm that you can add without any prompting from me. Which is what a good coach should do – give you the ability to think for yourself.

Now I know some people reading this will react with “but three months? I want to be a bad ass now!”. My question is, what are you doing to do it? If you have not done it already, what does it matter that it is not an immediate solution? At the very least, you are on the path, and taking solid steps. That is what is important. Not how fast you get it done. Start building shark habits and do work!