Although it’s been a while since my holidays in Poland and there’s been much other stuff going on lately, I’ll go back to something I experienced during those holidays that really inspired me. You see, on our visit to Poznan, me and my girl were looking for a place to have breakfast.
Under normal circumstances I practice the „Warrior Diet“ (www.warriordiet.com) as propagated by Ori Hofmekler. Holiday, however, is not exactly a normal situation in terms of nutrition, especially backpacking-tours where one is constantly on the move and doesn’t really have access to a kitchen. Hence, I try to keep my diet pretty clean during holidays but don’t refrain from eating stuff I normally would avoid or eating at times I would normally spend fasting. Following a Warrior Diet principle, however, I try to celebrate my meals rather than just consider them a feeding opportunity. The right food, eaten at the right time with a proper awareness nourishes the soul just as much as it nourishes the body.
The above paragraph is important for the story, as it explains why finding a place to eat is not always easy for me. Of course, we could have just hit some fast-food restaurant and consume enough calories to last the day, but that definately isn’t my idea of celebrating a meal while on holiday. So, we were looking for a really nice, affordable and comfortable place to have breakfast. That’s when we found the Tinta Bar (http://www.tintabar.pl/). Now from the outside, the Tinta Bar is totally unspectacular, definately not something a tourist would normally visit. The building’s facade isn’t in a good state and although the location is pretty central, it’s easy to overlook the storefront. Said storefront is designed pretty straight-forward, without any gimmicks, eye-catchers or neon-colored signs advertising special offers. It’s all kept very clean and rather simple. Coming from a Zen-oriented martial art, this immediately appealed to me. The sign said they served breakfast, so I was all game to enter. My girl, too, liked to place so we decided to give it a try. Take a look at the next picture and you’ll get an idea of the place.
After reading to this point, you might ask what all of this has to do with the martial arts. Bear with me some more, I’ll get to the point shortly.
Scanning the menu, we found that everything was slightly more expensive than it’d be in the places we usually ate at. Still, somehow the place just made us feel totally comfortable. Everything was clean, the staff was super-friendly (the type of honest friendlyness that makes you feel welcome, not the false friendlyness of a carpet-seller) and the design just calmed the soul. Everything was in the right place, every piece of furniture looked like it was just in the right place, working together with the rest to create harmony. There was a computer screen where they played their own promotional video, showing mostly scenes from the kitchen. I was totally fascinated by the video’s quality and superb cut. I doubt there’s a lot of small to medium companies that can boast of such a high-quality ad. Normally, I really despise ads. This one I actually enjoyed. This alone should illustrate just how good this film was (check it out here).
Why is all of that important? Well, we decided to visit the Tinta Bar again. So what, you say? We took this decision even before our food was served! In other words, we decided to eat a second time at the same place before even eating there once. Now, before you think the Tinta-Bar is all show and no go, it is not. The food was splendid, absolutely delicious. Check out those pictures (before you ask – yes, that stuff tasted just as great as it looks):
In everything the guys at the Tinta-Bar do, they seem to strive for perfection. They can’t change the state of the building they work in, they can’t really pack up and go to a more prominent location… they just have to live with those things. Everything they can change, however, they really put dedication in. In my opinion, this definately pays off. Of course, those guys didn’t invent the quest for perfection – another great example would be the japanese tea ceremony. Anyhow, I dare say most people visit a café more often than they attend a tea ceremony.
For the martial athlete, adopting this mindset probably means to pay full attention to whatever he is doing in the Dojo. Every strike, kick and throw has to be performed with full awareness of the details. If it doesn’t feel the best it possibly could or just doesn’t have maximal impact, it should probably be repeated. Sub-optimal or sloppy techniques shouldn’t be accepted. Stuff that doesn’t work out must be analyzed, tweaked and repeated. Even the most simple, boring technique should be performed with a chrystal clear focus and the devotion of a madman. A fighter should be obsessed with his technical skill. Ain’t no such thing as „good enough“ technique. Regardless how good it is, it can certainly be improved.
Obviously, there’s quite a lot of things we can’t change in a single training: strength, speed, endurance, flexibility and technical skill, to name but a few, take years to hone and improve. Hence, there’s no point in being frustrated when things are not perfect at this time – they most certainly are not -, it’s about striving for long term perfection (although it can never fully be achieved,… well, … duh) and always performing at your personal best.
The same mindset can manifest in different ways for different people in different situations. Still, striving for perfection in what you do probably is a good idea regardless of the circumstances. Next time you hit the gym or work out at the Dojo, try to pay every ounce of attention you can bring up to performing the best you possibly can in everything you do. You’ll be surprised how the session feels. I’m looking forward to reading about your thoughts and experiences on the topic in the comments section below.