We had a question from a student about how best to prepare for training at the upcoming Intensive (or Internship) at Roots. Thought we could answer it here.
First and foremost we have to look at the end goals of each program and be clear that what you get after 5 days and 3 months are very different. Each individual system in a person needs to have its own preparation and, depending on the length of the session, those needs will vary. And no system stands alone- there are very strong correlations between the physical, spiritual, emotional, nervous and psychological.
In an intensive a student can expect longer days, but it is a short five-day burst. An internship requires a student to self-manage over a three-month period.
Those who haven’t trained at Roots would probably first wonder about the kinds of exercises that will bring their physical preparedness up. We might say in response, get yourself well hydrated, do your push ups, squats, sit ups, pull ups, focus on breath control and so on.
Having said all this, for those who don’t “succeed”, the fault is rarely found at the physical level. In these cases the physical is a student’s prime focus but the main culprit is often weak spirit, neglected emotional system and lacking psyche. They end up making excuses, not paying proper attention and getting hurt. Similarly those who just come to pick up a particular skill, such as knife work for example, will be disappointed.
But how do we even begin to define success?
We will say this: The students who benefit and grow the most are those without specific end goals- they are not training with anything specific in mind but more so for the journey- they are often passionate and nobody or ideology is forcing them to be there. Having said that, one of the notions that is very important to keep in mind is the idea that outside (as in exterior) motivators are often more stimulating than the “self”. Most exterior causes, such as pleasing your instructor, serving your country or team, sacrificing yourself for the greater good tend to drive students further than just doing it for your “self”.
The best end goal, should there be one, is to develop strong spirit. Although.. some students come in with a strong spirit and find other things to work on, like the burden of ego or pride. We, as instructors have to catch those things early and examine what is fueling the motivation.
The main trait that makes a student grow is the desire to learn -the right attitude- combined with an open mind, focus, and a willingness to push hard.
For the upcoming intensive, we will be reverting back to old school approaches. For those students who have been training at Roots for over 8 years, we’re going back to the beginning roughly 8 years ago. It will be very physical but it will be the spirit that will carry a student through.
Side note: A lot of students seem to think the intensives have gotten softer, they haven’t. They simply have improved!
For the upcoming winter internship- there will definitely be higher expectations from students. Aside from the martial and personal development aspects, there will be more attention on character development: attitude, attributes, sucking it up, punctuality, respect… The internship is roughly slated to begin mid January 2019- stay tuned for more!