[email protected] | 720-427-2835
Meet Chris Speaking Workshops Coaching Client Resources Blog Contact Store BOOK CHRIS TODAY! Login

Are You Practicing Your Basics? (Part 1) - 3.0

Aug 14, 2022

Success is neither magical nor mysterious.  Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying the basic fundamentals.”

                                                                                          - Jim Rohn


I believe consistently and diligently practicing the basics is the key to success and mastery in any endeavor. 


In the Martial Arts, instructors consistently share with their students the following......


Black Belt is nothing more than being a master of the basics.



 From early in my martial arts career, I have a vivid memory of my first martial arts instructor talking about the importance of practicing the basics.  He equated the basics as the foundation for all other advanced skills. 


“Build a house on sand (poor basics),” he would say, “and it will crumble at the first sign of harsh weather.  However, build it on cement (strong foundational basics) and it can withstand almost anything.”


In his book, Raise Your Game, author and high-performance coach, Alan Stein, Jr. shares of his experience of observing, NBA All-Star Kobe Bryant put himself through an early morning workout. 


He was astonished that the then “best player in the world” put all the focus of his training session intensely concentrating on just basic footwork, basic ball-handling and basic shooting drills.  When later asked about his adherence to the basics, Bryant replied,


“Why do you think I’m the best player in the game?  Because I never get bored with the basics.”


The reason is clear.  By consistently practicing the basics, mastery is attained.  Or as martial arts icon, Bruce Lee puts it,


“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”


While we may not be a world-class athlete or a martial arts legend, we all can raise our levels of mastery by focusing on basic skills and practices in our personal lives and in your careers. 


In this first installment of my two-part series on the importance of practicing our basics, I share the first three areas I believe demonstrating consistent practice in can have the most profound impacts on our lives.


  • Rest – Yes, I began with practice of rest. Probably because for me, this is the most difficult basic practice. 


Both as a martial arts athlete and a businessperson, I have always had the innate feeling that I needed to do more in order to stay “ahead of the game”.  As a society, we honor those who are in constant motion towards their desired goals.  We brag to others (often in exasperating tones) about how busy we are, wearing our lack of sleep as an honor badge that demonstrates our commitment towards the cause. 


I have come to accept that for me, this is done almost entirely out of fear of not being enough, and in almost every case, is counter-productive in the long run of me achieving my desired outcomes. 


Several years ago, while preparing for my 6th Degree Black Belt test, I went to see my good friend and homeopathic doctor, the late Gil Griner (I miss you, my friend) complaining of being fatigued.  After running several tests and listening to the intense training regimen I was putting myself through, she scolded me about my over-training. 


When I resisted his advice to slow things down to avoid injury, he finally got my attention when he flatly stated,


“Chris, you need to understand, rest is part of your training.”


Where could you make rest and recovery a basic practice in your life?  Where do you have an opportunity to slow down and allow yourself to rest so your most powerful expression of you can emerge?


  • Nutrition – Ah, the dreaded discussion about diet. When I did fitness coaching at my martial arts studio, I found that talking about a person’s diet became one of the most sensitive topics of discussion. 


Recently, I was talking with a friend in the fitness industry about what the main component was to helping clients release unwanted weight.  While both of us had spent the vast majorities of our professional careers teaching and training others in physical fitness and movement, we both had to admit that the number one area of impact for weight reduction was a person’s nutritional intake and habits. 


What we are putting into our bodies has a the most dramatic impact on our ability to maintain healthy body weight and composition. 


With that being said, what basic practices are you adhering to in your nutritional intake?  Does your diet consist of plenty of vegetables, lean proteins, healthy carbohydrates, and fats, plenty of water and the avoidance of processed foods? 


There is plenty of information and coaching help out there if you desire to make a change and up-level your nutritional practices.  What are you waiting for?


  • Movement (Exercise) – While our nutrition, as stated above, is vastly important to our maintaining healthy weight and body composition, our overall strength, flexibility, and vitality is dependent on our consistent practice of moving our bodies.


Please note that I said movement and not exercise. 


This may seem like blasphemy from a martial art instructor to state that we simply need to “move” rather than intensely exercise them to attain long-lasting health. 


Let me say this, if you enjoy rigorous workouts (like I do) and they are working to help you maintain physical and emotional health – keep doing them.  However, studies show that those who are in the best health into their later years are those who are dedicated to a daily practice of movement versus vigorous exercise. 


In areas around the world know as “Blue Zones” people routinely live vital and active lives well into their nineties and beyond. 


The keys to this longevity, along with healthy nutritional practices and having a purpose of meaningfully contributing to their communities, is daily movement of their bodies.   The key is to find something you enjoy doing and do it, CONSISTENTLY. 


Whether it a daily walk, yoga practice, golf, dancing, or a vigorous training session at the gym or marital arts studio, the message is clear – get up and move. 


What can you do now to begin a consistent movement a basic practice in your life?  Even if it means to stop reading this blog to get up to do a few squats, burpees or stretch in your office.  Get moving!


So, there you have it, there are my first three basic practices for a full and vital life. Next week, I will share an additional three basic practices for being at our best and powerfully showing up in our lives.  


If you feel you are not able to create practices in all three of these areas immediately, I encourage you to just choose one basic practice and commit to it. 


Who knows, that one basic practice might be just what you need to become a “Black Belt” in the most important of areas - your life?


Chris Natzke

Black Belt Leadership Speaking & Coaching

PS:  I you are looking to learn the principles that can keep you going in times of challenge, go to my new website, www.ChrisNatzke.com and download my FREE REPORTThe Top Ten Big Ideas to Become a Black Belt Leader.


50% Complete

Subscribe to receive your weekly "Mind of a Champion Tip of the Week" Blog!

Also receive your FREE REPORT, "The Top Ten Big Ideas to Become a Black Belt Leader!