Working out from home has its challenges.

I don’t know whether the biggest impediment is sloth, procrastination, or fatigue. Or maybe it’s just not being into it or believing that everything else is more important than one’s training.

But as one who has had to train himself, almost always alone, for over 30 years, the justifications we use to NOT train are plentiful.

Bad habits are hard to break.

It reminds me of something I used to tell myself that I passed on to my students about developing consistency in karate practice. It went something like this.

Missing one practice was an interruption; missing two or more started a new habit.

While improvement of one’s skills and knowledge requires consistent effort applied over time (i.e., developing a habit of training on a regular basis), NOT-TRAINING is also a habit for many who can’t get to the dojo. And a bad one at that, for it stands in the way of all we hope to experience, achieve and become through it.

Like Isaac Newton said about bodies at rest remaining at rest until acted upon by an outside force, not-training begets more not-training. It creates a habit of non-action.

It is this habit that must be broken, and most of the reasons we avoid working out are simply excuses we use to justify our not-doing to reinforce and maintain our habit.

Not-training is like an addiction to ease, comfort and the routines we keep. And like an alcoholic taking the pledge, training from home requires us to confront that element within that likes the status quo of where we are.

Forming a New Habit

Karate training is fun. It’s invigorating. It gives one many intangibles. But it’s WORK. Hard work. And for those who can’t find enough joy and benefit from the doing of that hard word, it’s very hard to find the motivation to resist the call of all those justifications that keep us on the couch.

So what can I tell you to help with finding that motivation to break the habit of sloth, and keeping it going despite all the things that will get in the way?

In a very real sense, karate training isn’t about learning to fight. It isn’t even about developing character.

Karate training is about you. It’s about mastering yourself, of taking charge of your mind, your body, and your life so you can marshal the intention, focus and energies needed to train — not for any ultimate result, but for the sheer joy of doing it.

It’s about you finding satisfaction in knowing that you control your body, and that you can make it do strange things while striving for a level of perfection that can never be fully attained.

It is the DOING of karate training, and the benefits you get from it besides improving your art, that must dangle the carrot before you to get and keep you going.

If you’ve trained before and stopped, you know that it’s left a hole in you and your life that has been hard to fill.

If you haven’t, you’re not only missing out on all that it could bring. You’re also denying yourself the opportunity to explore and push through boundaries you didn’t know you have, in search of new ones that will in turn fall along the wayside.

Striving to Become More

Karate is about becoming more — becoming a better you. And if you are to succeed at it, whether training at home or in a dojo, you must cultivate the inner desire to become more.

At first it may start on a whim, or as a wistful hope for a quick fix on your conditioning or ability to defend yourself. But to continue and keep it going, day after day, year after year, it will require more.

It demands you be the force that sets you in motion, and fights against all interruption to keep you on track. It demands will power, and the discipline to see it through.

It is the ultimate act of character-building, to set your mind at something and achieve it, regardless of what it takes.

What more could your want for your journey through life?

So for you who want to train from home, I can only give you one piece of advice to keep going when the going gets tough.

Find a way.