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The 80/20 Rule To Martial Arts Training: Stop Wasting Your Time

Applying the 80/20 rule in your martial arts training will not only save you time, but you will also progress faster. The goal is to identify what makes the biggest and least impact in your training in order to prioritize your time and attention for a greater outcome.

I briefly mentioned the 80/20 Rule in my previous post: Get The Most Out Of Your Training – Martial Arts

8020 Martial arts training

Also known as Pareto’s law, the 80/20 rule states that roughly 80% of the results comes from 20% of the causes. For an example, 80% of business sales comes from 20% of the clients. The 80/20 rule can be applied to anything, today you will be applying it to your martial arts training.

“The goal is to find your inefficiencies in order to eliminate them and to find your strengths so you can multiply them.” – Tim Ferriss

Making the 80/20 Analysis in Your Martial Arts Training

The first step to the 80/20 analysis for your martial arts training is what do you want out of it. Self defense? competition? fitness? having fun? or how to apply a specific technique?

Identify the 20% that meets your goal the most. Below are a few questions you can use to identify this 20% of your training:

  • What would you do to get the most out of your training if you only had 30 mins to train? How would you do it?
  • If you could only spar 3 rounds , who would you spar with? how hard would you spar?
  • If you only had time to work on 3 different techniques, what would they be?
  • If you only had time to do one drill, what drill will that be?
  • If you have to prepare for a fight in 2 months, what would you do?
“One does not accumulate but eliminate. It’s not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential.” – Bruce Lee
“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” – Albert Einstein

When applying the 80/20 analysis to your martial arts training you, the goal is to hack away the excess and narrow it down to the bare essentials that will increase your bottom line.

Once the bare essentials are identified, create a training plan your willing to execute. Create timelines to measure and manage your progress. Re-analyze and modify as necessary. Below is one example on on how I applied the 80/20 law to my martial arts training:

30 Minutes a Day is All It Takes – The Heavy Bag

I was able to narrow down specific movements on the heavy bag targeting the following 30mins a day.

I always have a plan when i use the heavy bag. Each 3 minute round I work on two specific combinations aiming for a total of 40-50 reps per round with 1 minute rest in between. Each combination has a minimum of three strikes and at least one defensive movement (snap back, weave, or slip).

Each repetition is initiated and finished using footwork with 100% effort in speed, explosiveness, and power. Once achieving the repetition goals I’ll sit and throw random punches and kicks with no pauses until the round is over.

Each round I am throwing 200-300 strikes, totaling 1200-1800 strikes for 6 rounds within 30mins. While working my legs, footwork, distancing, power, speed, endurance, and defensive movements that I’m also anchoring into my nervous system using jedi mind tricks (visualization – check out this article for more info). Also the non-stop intensity eliminates any slack through out the heavy bag session, optimizing my time spent.

Applying the 80/20 rule to my martial arts training has brought me clarity and focus. It helps me prioritize whats important and eliminate what is not. I was first introduced to the 80/20 rule by Timothy Ferriss’s Book Called The 4-Hour Workweek. Check It out

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I personally believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”




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Bruce Lee Quotes Be Like Water

For this blog post i gathered all the quotes i can find on Bruce Lee quotes be like water. I listed any Bruce Lee quote that suggest being adaptive or shapeless.

“You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend.” – Bruce Lee

“Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.

“When my acute self-consciousness grew to what the psychologists refer to as the “double-bind” type, my instructor would again approach me and say, “Loong, preserve yourself by following the natural bends of things and don’t interfere. Remember never to assert yourself against nature; never be in frontal opposition to any problems, but control it by swinging with it. Don’t practice this week: Go home and think about it.” – Bruce Lee

“After spending many hours meditating and practicing, I gave up and went sailing alone in a junk. On the sea I thought of all my past training and got mad at myself and punched the water! Right then — at that moment — a thought suddenly struck me; was not this water the very essence of gung fu? Hadn’t this water just now illustrated to me the principle of gung fu? I struck it but it did not suffer hurt. Again I struck it with all of my might — yet it was not wounded! I then tried to grasp a handful of it but this proved impossible. This water, the softest substance in the world, which could be contained in the smallest jar, only seemed weak. In reality, it could penetrate the hardest substance in the world. That was it! I wanted to be like the nature of water.

Suddenly a bird flew by and cast its reflection on the water. Right then I was absorbing myself with the lesson of the water, another mystic sense of hidden meaning revealed itself to me; should not the thoughts and emotions I had when in front of an opponent pass like the reflection of the birds flying over the water? This was exactly what Professor Yip meant by being detached — not being without emotion or feeling, but being one in whom feeling was not sticky or blocked. Therefore in order to control myself I must first accept myself by going with and not against my nature.” – Bruce Lee

The natural phenomenon which the gung fu man sees as being the closest resemblance to wu wei [the principle of spontaneous action governed by the mind and not the senses] is water:

Nothing is weaker than water,
But when it attacks something hard
Or resistant, then nothing withstands it,
And nothing will alter its way. – Lao Tzu


The above passages from the Tao Te Ching illustrate to us the nature of water: Water is so fine that it is impossible to grasp a handful of it; strike it, yet it does not suffer hurt; stab it, and it is not wounded; sever it, yet it is not divided. It has no shape of its own but molds itself to the receptacle that contains it. When heated to the state of steam it is invisible but has enough power to split the earth itself. When frozen it crystallizes into a mighty rock. First it is turbulent like Niagara Falls, and then calm like a still pond, fearful like a torrent, and refreshing like a spring on a hot summer’s day. So is the principle of wu wei:

The rivers and seas are lords of a hundred valleys. This is because their strength is in lowliness; they are kings of them all. So it is that the perfect master wishing to lead them, he follows. Thus, though he is above them, he follows. Thus, though he is above them, men do not feel him to be an injury. And since he will not strive, none strive with him.

Be Like Water: The Philosophy and Origin of Bruce Lee’s Famous Metaphor for Resilience

“Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own.”
― Bruce Lee

“Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them.”
― Bruce Lee

“If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.”
― Bruce Lee

“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.”
― Bruce Lee

“Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successfull personality and duplicate it.”
― Bruce Lee

“Not being tense but ready.
Not thinking but not dreaming.
Not being set but flexible.
Liberation from the uneasy sense of confinement.
It is being wholly and quietly alive, aware and alert, ready for whatever may come.”
― Bruce Lee

“Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind.”
― Bruce Lee

“Take things as they are. Punch when you have to punch. Kick when you have to kick.”
― Bruce Lee

“Using no way as a way, having no limitation as limitation.”
― Bruce Lee

“Don’t get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water.”
― Bruce Lee

“The idea is that flowing water never goes stale, so just keep on flowing.”
― Bruce Lee

“If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves. Moving, be like water. Still, be like a mirror. Respond like an echo. ”
― Bruce Lee

“Obey the principles without being bound by them.”
― Bruce Lee

“The less effort, the faster and more powerful you will be.”
― Bruce Lee

“Take no thought of who is right or wrong or who is better than. Be not for or against.”
― Bruce Lee

“Set patterns, incapable of adaptability, of pliability, only offer a better cage. Truth is outside of all patterns.”
― Bruce Lee

“If you follow the classical pattern, you are understanding the routine, the tradition, the shadow — you are not understanding yourself.”
― Bruce Lee,

“Bring the mind into sharp focus and make it alert so that it can immediately intuit truth, which is everywhere. The mind must be emancipated from old habits, prejudices, restrictive thought processes and even ordinary thought itself.”
― Bruce Lee

“In the middle of chaos lies opportunity–Bruce Lee”
― Bruce Lee

“Emotion can be the enemy, if you give into your emotion, you lose yourself. You must be at one with your emotions, because the body always follows the mind.”
― Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee Images & Quotes
Bruce Lee Jeet Kune Do: 5 Ways Of Attack

Bruce Lee Quotes Be Like Water

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Get The Most Out Of Your Training – Martial Arts

Get the Most Out Of Your Training - Martial Arts

How to become more productive in our martial arts training is an important question to have. its necessary to accelerated learning. Most martial artist “just show up.” While at the same time most martial artists don’t make it to the top. Today ill be sharing some of the most influencing philosophies/concepts that accelerated my performance.

80/20 Law

The 80/20 Law (also known as The Pareto principle)  states, that for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.


  • 80% of a martial artist’s actions comes from 20% of their techniques
  • 80% of a martial artist’s productivity comes from 20% of the training
  • 80% of the fight takes place in 20% of the positions (example: the guard in jiu jitsu).

The 80/20 law helps analyze and narrow down whats important and what you should be prioritizing. It will also help eliminate any excess fat, free up time and attention to whats important.


Focus on your strengths while managing your weaknesses. You will be more productive in doing what you do best rather than making incremental improvements fixing your weaknesses, which at best, becomes decent. This principle is similar to the 80/20 law.


Goals are necessary for optimizing productivity. Most of the productivity comes from the short term goals, and motivation and drive comes from the long term goal.

Types of short-term goals you should consider:

  • What techniques to improve (preferably filtered through the 80/20 law)
  • Goals in sparring
  • Training x amount of times a week
  • Who to spar with
  • What to drill


Measure all aspects of your training by documenting and reviewing your performance in sparring, your successes and mistakes and what you could of done better. This will help you examine your performance day by day and with greater clarity on the path to improvement. What gets measured gets managed.


Competing in an event is the best thing you can do to get the most out of your training. It helps set-up several mental aspects in place that are necessary to increase the quality of effort and attention for training productivity. It will also bring greater clarity to the 80/20 law, goals, strengths and the use of metrics.

Benefits of Competition

  • Focus
    • Competition create deadlines which help produce greater focus and helps you analyze on what to do in order to get shit done.
  • Motivation
    • Competition creates greater motivation to improve performance,. Overcoming excuses and accelerating productivity.

If you decide to compete don’t pick an event that is a year away. I recommend setting a deadline within 3-4 months. The tighter the deadline the greater the focus, the greater the focus the greater the productivity.