Have you ever dreamed a dream so big that you didn’t want to tell anyone else? Something you desire more than anything else in this world?
If you have, you are like most people in the world today – we ALL have dreams – and we all dream BIG dreams.
I have a question for you, how much work have you put into that one dream…a couple of hours, a couple of days, or have you dedicated every waking moment to see that dream come true?
So I ask you this, are your dreams really important to you?
There is one man, a fellow Austinite named Jim Holzknecht who I want to discuss. His dreams were REALLY important to him. Holzknecht holds the world record for most consecutive days practicing Bikram yoga. In 2009 he set out to break that record.
And he did it…after 862 days!
For those of you keeping track at home, is almost two and a half years!!!
Yes, you read that right, he spent two and half years chasing ONE dream!
You may be wondering why I’m starting out a post on a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu blog talking about Bikram yoga. Well, I’m glad you asked.
The reason is because what I find most interesting about Holzknecht’s accomplishment is not the achievement itself – although his accomplishment is impressive for sure- what I find most interesting is the culture that made that made that record possible.
Bikram yoga, for those who don’t know, is a very specific set of movements in a very specific environment. You can’t just do it at home. You have to go to a class, or it doesn’t count.
What this is means is that for Holzknecht to hit that record, he had to find a class 365 days a year!
Yes, you read that right…he went to class EVERY day of the week for over two years!
It turns out, in the Bikram community that isn’t all that hard to do. Since the focus of Bikram is health and meditation, studios go out of their way to provide support at the most stressful time of year—the holidays. So they’re re open on Thanksgiving, they’re open on Christmas, and any studio around the world will tell you that their biggest class of the year is at 10:30 p.m. on New Year’s Eve . . . the class that ends at midnight, so people can ring in the New Year the right way.
As a whole, the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu community is, unfortunately, is not nearly as committed. Almost every jiu jitsu school I know in the U.S. is closed for at least Christmas and Thanksgiving. Many close for a whole week or two, leaving their students with almost as much as two weeks without an opportunity to train, unless someone with a key opens the doors for an open mat.
I even know BJJ schools in Austin that close on Columbus Day.
Really? Columbus Day?
This makes no sense to me!
The holidays are the most stressful time of year. I don’t know about you, but I find that kicking a bag in Muay Thai is a great way to release built-up tension. Forcing yourself to clear your mind and focus on your opponent during a roll is a great way to relieve stress when your friends and family are driving you nuts by overstaying their welcome or eating all the leftovers! And of course, the only way to work off all that turkey and chocolate that come with the holiday season is with exercise—the more intense, the better.
But aside from that, whatever your goals are in jiu-jitsu, the “why” behind them doesn’t change.
If you’re practicing BJJ to be more fit, your health doesn’t take holidays off, so your fitness shouldn’t take a holiday.
If you’re practicing BJJ for self-defense, many people get mugged during the holidays, so practicing self-defense doesn’t take holidays, either.
If you’re practicing BJJ for the physical or mental discipline, holidays are the toughest time to maintain your strong habits. Your discipline and dedication shouldn’t take holidays, either.
If your goal is to be an MMA fighter, that goal definitely doesn’t take holidays off!
There’s someone else who comes to mind when I think of dedicated people, Olympic Gold Medalist Michael Phelps. After his record-setting eight gold medals in the 2008 Olympics, he said in an interview that there was a period of about five years when he trained every single day.
Typically wisdom says that taking a rest day once a week to let your body recover, he and his coach’s’ mentality was that if they trained every day, he was getting 52 more workouts a year than anyone else.
So think about it, it’s just one day a week, but in a year its 52 more days.
No matter what level you’re operating at, that kind of commitment will and does make a BIG difference.
So that’s why Aces Jiu Jitsu Club is open 365 days a year. Plus one more day in a leap year. Because I want my students to achieve their goals. Phelps’s dreams didn’t take holidays. Holzknecht’s dreams didn’t take holidays. My dreams don’t take holidays, either.
Professor Mikal Abdullah is a 2nd Degree BJJ Black Belt, veteran, father, philanthropist, and founder of Aces Jiu Jitsu Club. You can find her personal Instagram account with the handle @cerebralbjj or just stop by one of our locations and get a session in!