Do you give these excuses?

Ming explores some common excuses for not coming to training and then gives his advice. The following are cultivated from teaching humans for over 20 years.


I have a headache.

Poster_Small_Paula_stairs_P-350xMing’s advice: I understand migraines, but there are medications to help if you take them early enough. Most people have a prodrome, an indicator one will be coming on soon. Take your medication. My ex-wife suffered from them; I know they can be debilitating. I hear you. Exercise, meditation, eating and sleeping properly will help.

If you have a headache from drinking too much the night before, boo hoo. Shame on you for even giving that excuse. No, seriously. People out there have real problems. You know well ahead of time when your next training day will be. Don’t drink the night before. Simple. Otherwise, just stay home, grow your belly, and pray you never have to call on your body to come to your aid in a life-threatening situation.

I am on my period.

Ming’s advice: You’re gonna go there? Really? I have had women training on their most painful days remark quite sharply about the women who try and use that excuse. I can’t claim to have had a period, but dealing with women who think it’s a get out of work free card are insulting to other females and give the gender a bad name. Don’t ever get attacked while you’re on your period, and you should be good to go, right?

I’ve trained with groin injuries, a cracked shin, a broken foot, torn coastal cartilage, pneumonia, and numerous tendon strains, sprains, tears. I don’t expect everyone to train like me, but there are some—including women—who have trained under harder conditions than I’ve experienced without letting anyone even be aware of it. Enough said.

I’m too tired after a long day of (fill in the excuse)

Ming’s advice: (really, this is a popular one. Let’s hope you never get attacked when you’re tired, you simply won’t be up for it.)

Stay in bed. The world is too tough for you.

I have never had anyone come in to training—regardless their level of fatigue—and not come away energized and deflated of their stresses from the day. Yes, they will be tired physically, but it’s fatigue from having done something positive to their bodies and minds and not because of the negative influences in their daily lives.

The drive is too long, or traffic is too much of a hassle.

Ming’s advice: I can only really think of the people who have to walk a day’s journey to hand-crank water from a well and then walk back lugging the water so their family can live.

If you want it bad enough, you will make the journey.

You are training to live when the time comes for someone to challenge that right. If you can’t make the effort to drive the distance in your air-conditioned car, then you aren’t serious and need to reevaluate your decisions.

I completely understand the desire to train close to where you live, but if the best training environment for you is farther away, then you will only benefit in the long run from making the effort. That dedication is a discipline that will spill over into other areas of your life.

I have trained more than one person who did just this. One particular man comes to mind. After a long day of work, he would drive 1-hour each way to bring his children to train with me. I am always touched and humbled in the face of this sacrifice of one’s time.

My (wife/husband/partner) doesn’t like my training with all those other (men/women/blacks/whites/Asians/Jews, etc.) 

Ming’s advice: get a new partner.

Okay, perhaps that may seem a little harsh, but I’ve trained a long time and have taught students a long time. I have seen—and experienced—the effects of a partners who aren’t fully on board with your choice because of some insecurity, hang up, lack of respect, or deep prejudice.

First off, if they don’t see your efforts to do something to better yourself—and potentially protect yourself in a life-threatening encounter—then they aren’t out for your best interests. It is also quite likely they simply don’t understand them. Communicate it effectively.

Another thing, and this is big one: you’ll never live long enough to be able to quench a person’s insecurities or prejudices—and it isn’t even your job to do that with the time you have in your life.

Truly, you’ve got better things to do with your time. That sort of thing is a journey they have to make, to come to terms with so they can live in this world of variety.

If your partner has insecurities, lack of respect, or deep-seated prejudices they will, generally, manifest themselves in subtle or not-so-subtle ways to get you, whether slowly or immediately, to reduce your participation in your choice—or even to abandon it completely.

I’ve seen relationships break up because of this.

It all comes down to respect. It also comes down to how serious are you about your training.

Your partner must respect your choices. They have to respect what you value, even if they don’t particularly care for it.

(We may have friends your partner doesn’t like, but he or she this accepts them because they are an important part of your individual growth. Part of your upbringing. Part of your family. And I’m sure you can point out one or two friends or family members of your partner whom you tolerate for the same reasons.)

Your partner must see your choice as a part of your life, a lifestyle choice. If it helps, they can think of your training as a job you have to go to for a specific period of time.

Your respect for their choices in life should be a good example for them to reflect.

I have a family member or friend coming in from out of town.

Ming’s advice: Annnnnd?

Listen, they won’t disintegrate if you aren’t with them for 1-2 hours of your day. This is assuming they aren’t visiting for just a couple of hours.

Unless they are mentally handicapped or unable to take care of themselves in some other way, I’m sure they can find something to do for the time you are away. If nothing else—offer to bring them to training with you to share in your experience.


In the end…

There are other excuses. Deaths in the family, vehicle breaking down, family emergency with the kids, pet problems, etc.

If you find yourself making more and more excuses as time progresses, then you probably don’t need to continue training. Either that, or you need to kick yourself in the a** and become more disciplined about your choice.

Your absence diminishes the training environment.

A lot of people don’t think about this, but it’s an important consideration: we all grow from unique and varied experiences.

You are the only you there is. When you train in a group environment, you bring the challenge of your body and mind and spirit to everyone who interacts with you. You help stimulate growth, inspire, and enrich the rest of us.

You make us better by just being you and expressing yourself fully, physically, mentally.

And the group environment—all those other individuals—do the same to you.

If they don’t, then yes, it is time to move on. Just make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons and not for some excuse that keeps you from bettering yourself.