YOU are your own Instructor!

As we enter another week of “Social Isolation” it is becoming increasingly important for individuals to keep themselves mentally and physically strong during this uncertain time.  As my previous blog entry stated, staying glued to the couch all day watching COVID19 news updates does nothing but perpetuate fears and anxiety during an already stressful time.  I find a good approach that I have been taking is to give myself about 30 minutes a day to get an update, educate myself on the virus and then concentrate on my life (and living it the best I can).

A big part of maintaining my mental and physical health is keeping up with my training, staying connected to my students via this blog entry and keeping up with some video tutorial content for our students.  The video content I will be providing during the closure can be a very helpful aid to keep your skills up and allow you to keep in shape.

This leads me to my main point of this entry..YOU are now your own instructor!  I want you to think about this for a moment.  YOU are you own instructor.

What I mean by this is that we tend to do our best when we have someone pushing and motivating us.  For example, if I am working a heavy bag on my own and I have an exhaustion drill to conclude my workout, it is easy for me to tell myself “ok, you had a hard workout, let’s do 30 reps and call it a day”.  That is EASY to do but I KNOW I can do 40-50 when I am training with Ajahn Suchart.  Knowing this about myself, I never allow myself to give into that voice that says “just do 30”.  I ignore that voice and remind myself “I am the voice my students rely on in class.  I am the one who makes them to the 10-20 extra reps”.  I want you all to think about this when you are at home training on your own.  YOU are now the instructor and you need to push yourselves when you are alone.


Ok so I admit, Pizza might not be the best food item to choose form during a time of at home training and watching our diets ha ha ha..Hear me out.

Do not look at training and your goals as one giant task that can overwhelm.  Take it “one slice at a time”.


If you enrolled at Elite and right from the start, you said “I am getting a Black belt 100%”.  That is a great goal but it might not be realistic at that time, as you are still so many belts away.  Many hours and years of training away from that ultimate goal.  If you had the approach of “I have a 6 month contract, I want to test for my Yellow and my Orange belt during that time” THAT is a goal you CAN achieve.  When that goal is achieved, you move on to “I want to get my Green Belt and be Advanced by 2021”.  Again, this is realistic and it is not overwhelming.  As you achieve these small goals, it reinforces that you CAN accomplish your goals and you WILL get that eventual Black belt.  You re-enforce to yourself that you are establishing a track record of setting goals and achieving them.  This can also be applied to any aspect of your life.

When I go for my nightly run/workout, some days I am exhausted from homeschooling my daughter and the general stress of our current situation.  I start my first lap and tell myself “Man I am tired today.  Let’s just get through 5 laps today”.  That is the lazy voice in my head talking (yes, I have that voice just like all of you. We all have a lazy devil on our shoulder).  I do that first lap and I feel a bit better.  I tell myself, “Ok, let’s go to 4 more laps” then I am at 5 laps.  I tell myself “3 more” I ignore my previous 5 laps and just focus on the next 3.  I jog 1-2-3.  Then I am at 8.  I finally tell myself “You got 2 more in you” and I proceed to complete the final 2 laps.  Had I just given into my lazy voice, I would have stopped at 5 and called it a “tired day”, an “off day”.

Going back to the Pizza analogy:  If put a full pizza in front of you and said “have at it” and told you to finish it in one sitting, most of us could not do that (and those that can, I do NOT recommend it).  If I said “You have 48 hours” you could easily have a few slices here and  there and eventually finish the whole thing in 48 hours…Again, I am NOT advocating eating a whole pizza ha haha..It’s just an analogy.

Take your training approach as biting off one slice at a time – One small goal at a time.  Do not overwhelm yourself.  Develop a history of small achievements.  Keep this approach in mind during your at home training.  DO NOT fall off.  We WILL be open again.  You will all need to keep in shape so you can pick up right where you left off.

This COVID19 pandemic WILL have an end in the near future.  When this ends, we will all be ready to go and prepared to accomplish our goals….One slice at a time!


Dan Novak

Owner/Head Instructor

Elite Martial Arts Toronto