ONE KICK, NOT 10,000
“Teaching people a large number of sword techniques is turning the way into a business of selling goods, making beginners believe that there is something profound in their training by impressing them with a variety of techniques. This attitude toward strategy must be avoided, because thinking that there is a variety of ways of cutting a man down is evidence of a disturbed mind. In the world, different ways of cutting a man down do not exist.”
- Miyamoto Mushashi
Seems that what was once true of swordsmanship is now true of the fitness industry.
Within our industry, all we really need to do to is develop and maintain the handful of things that the human body does, whether that's around food or movement.
As Musashi said elsewhere, "To know 10,000 things, know one well."
If you can master the fundamentals of what your body does - things like squatting, crawling, walking, pushing, pulling and even breathing - you'll be able to vary those things infinitely to suit the demands of your situation. And they can always be loaded with more weight, speed, density or volume.
If you skip that step, though, and run immediately to complication and ornamentation, you'll miss the point and spend years chasing fads with little consistent progress to show for it.
The most immediate option for those who cannot coach the basics extremely well, is to shroud that lacking, with complication - a never ending barrage of novelty and smoke screens. It's harder to notice that it's not getting better if it's never the same thing.
If what you're doing in the gym is anything other than simple movement, and your nutrition is defined by something other than eating real food, then it's probably just marketing and counterproductive complication.
To be clear, trying new things is important, and we love to do that here; the key is what happens MOST of the time.
Musashi, again, knew this centuries ago:
“The primary thing when you take a sword in your hands is your intention to cut the enemy, whatever the means. Whenever you parry, hit, spring, strike or touch the enemy's cutting sword, you must cut the enemy in the same movement. It is essential to attain this. If you think only of hitting, springing, striking or touching the enemy, you will not be able actually to cut him.”
If you think only of lifting more weight, achieving more reps, eating less food, and training more and more often, you may not be able to actually get fit.
Squat, lift, push, pull, run, jump, throw, eat. Get really really good at this.
To finish with a quote by yet another famous warrior philosopher,
"fear not the man who has practiced 10000 kicks once, but fear the man who has practiced one kick 10000 times"
- Bruce Lee