State of Readiness “Don’t get Ready. Stay Ready.”
John K. Murray, MA, CSCS, USAW, CMT
Over my many years of Martial Arts training, the following mantra has been a common theme among taught by the many accomplished instructors I have had the good fortune to train with:
“Always maintain a state of readiness.”
They would emphasize, “don’t get ready, stay ready!”
Their point being that in self defense combat the harsh reality is that all is unpredictable and you never know when you may have to defend yourself, your loved ones or your friends. If the unfortunate situation ever did arise when you had to defend yourself, then you better be ready. If you are not, and need to take the time to become ready then you will have big problems as time is of the essence when defending yourself.
Now, though athletics and martial arts are very different practicums, they do share some commonalities. Both require discipline, hard work, sacrifice and mental toughness to name just a few similarities. Although “winning” is defined drastically differently between the two, one key theme for both Martial Arts and athletics is that the better someone is prepared, the higher their level of readiness, then the better their chances of being “victorious” are.
When I first joined the staff of the Golden State Warriors, the late, great Los Angeles Lakers” Kobe Bryant and the San Antonio Spurs’ Tim Duncan were widely considered the two best players in the N.B.A. They were the standard bearers. They were known workers. Though both destined Hall of Famers, their off-seasons were notorious for their arduous work ethics. They used their training to get better, to improve their game and their bodies not simply to “get ready”.
Having two good friends who coached both Kobe and Tim respectively, I was afforded unique inside perspectives of both players' habits. Phil Handy, a former player of mine who I trained during his professional basketball career and who is now a member of the Lakers coaching staff, worked very closely with Kobe, and would always be amazed by how relentless his pursuit of improvement was. “Kobe was a beast. He was constantly trying to get better.”
Hall of Fame Strength & Conditioning Coach Mike Brungardt, who served as the Spurs Strength Coach and worked with Tim during his entire career, also would rave about “Timmy’s commitment to always get better. He was never satisfied with staying the same.”
For both players as well as my Martial Arts instructors, time used “to get ready” was almost considered wasteful. It was emblematic of laziness, a poor work ethic. Conversely, if an individual always maintained a state of readiness then their valuable time could be used to learn, to improve, to get better. Not ready. Always be ready. To get better.