3 Mental Kata

As promised in my last post, here are the 3 Mental Kata that I feel have helped me be, in my on unique way, successful.

Remember, just like in Karate, these Kata are not just “quotes” and “fancy words”, but concepts to continually practice with the intention of mastery.

Practice = Mastery

I promise if you take these 3 Kata and practice them diligently over the next 21 days,  your life, energy and mental well-being will feel completely new in a positive way.

Mental Kata #1 – Take Responsibility for EVERYTHING that Happens To You

Sometimes, this can be the hardest to grasp, but once you’ve got it, it’s the most powerful concept you can live by.

Here’s how it works:

Every event that happens to YOU, assume that YOU created it.

You didn’t just let it happen, you MADE it happen.

Now, you can argue about situations and events being out of your control until the cows come home, but it won’t do you any good.

On the other hand, if you do take 100% responsibility, here’s what opens up to you:

You now become the BOSS of your life. What you do and what you say is the word.


If things happen that aren’t so good, instead of getting bummed out and complaining, you can ask yourself, “What did I do to make this happen?” then make sure it doesn’t happen again and you get what you want instead.


That’s fine if you want to be, but if not, look at your life and see what you’re doing to cause it, then stop doing those things in favour of actions that will get you what you want.

Gassing out?

Whatever you’re doing obviously isn’t working, so better start doing something else.

Get in a car crash?

You were the one who chose to drive that day.

Lose the welterweight title to Matt Serra?

Then look at what went wrong and fix it!

Way to take responsibility Georges!

It’s a simple concept, but it is definitely not easy and takes practice day in, day out, I imagine for the rest of your life.

If you’re still a bit confused, leave a question and we’ll discuss below, otherwise, continue…


Mental Kata #2 – (Re)Claim Your Confidence

We are all born with undeniable confidence.

Think about it – at one point in your life, you couldn’t talk, walk, or even stand-up!

Now, you can do all sorts of crazy shite compared to when you were a baby.

When you first started walking, you fell a lot. Don’t be upset, we all did.

But nobody ever said to you, “Oh, you suck little baby, stick to crawling, you’re much too dumb to ever learn how to walk.”

Dumb baby can't even do a roundhouse kick yet.

Nope, you got lots of enouragement and smiles and hugs, making you feel like you could do it.

But after you turn about 3 or 4, you might’ve started hearing things like, “No, don’t do that, you’ll hurt yourself” or “You can’t do that, it’s not allowed.”

These terms and phrases are true confidence killers.

Luckily, my parents always encouraged me, but I know that some of you might not have had that growing up.

If you feel you’re lacking confidence, look back on all of the things you’ve accomplished in your life, like walking and talking.

I’m serious, start there. These are big accomplishments!

And how did they happen?

Step-by-step. You don’t just jump from white belt to black in 1 day.

The key is that every step along the way, no matter how small, pat yourself on the back, because each little achievement will give you a little bit of confidence and it all adds up.

Lift a little more weight in the gym?

Good job, you’re taking your body to the next level.

Learn a new technique?

Awesome, you’re one step closer to mastery.

Refuse junk food?

Way to go! Didn’t it feel good? Remember how good it felt then do it again!

You don’t have to throw a party for all these things, but notice them and let them make you feel good, because these good feelings will attract more of the same and soon you’ll feel bulletproof.


Mental Kata #3 – Live Life On Your Own Terms

Rules rules rules.

We are programmed at birth to follow the rules and conform.

Society is simply a bunch of rules, both known and implied that we all follow.

In our lives, we’ve got to let go of right and wrong and instead, CHOOSE what rules to live by that work for us.

What makes a rule work for us?

One that gets you closer to your goals.

If one of your goals is to be happy, then one that makes you happier.

If one of your goals is to be in top shape, then a rule that improves your fitness.

A few decades ago, a man named Bruce Lee chose to defy the rules and set patterns of traditional martial arts, instead, taking whatever worked best from each art.

Although it’s now known as Jeet Kune Do, the only rule was that there are no rules.

JKD is unique to the individual and the situation and fit Bruce’s goal of being the toughest SOB around.

Use what works, discard what doesn’t.

We’ve seen this happen in MMA – guys like Anderson Silva bringing the front kick back when everyone thought Karate was useless for MMA, young guys like Jon Jones and Anthony Pettis coming up with never-seen-before moves, totally shocking their opponents. [I’m VERY excited to see what is going to be happening in MMA 5 and 10 years from now – it’s going to be WILD!]

If Anderson was like, “I am a Muay Thai fighter. I only do Muay Thai techniques.” then maybe we would’ve never witnessed his spectacular KO of Belfort.

His goal of being the best mixed martial artist has led him to continually evolve his game, looking anywhere and everywhere to grow and improve.

But there’s one thing you’ve got to do
to live life on your own terms…

And that’s DEFINE your terms.

After graduating from university, I started working at a local gym.

I hated the slimy sales people and shady contracts, so part of my ‘terms’ were to never work for a gym again.

Ever since I made that choice, I’ve been successfully self-employed.

In 2006, I started getting bored of general fitness training and loved training fighters way more.

Now, I almost exclusively train fighters and athletes, doing what I want and loving it.

Define your terms (Kata #3), realize that you are the one who will make it happen (Kata #1) then go out and do it one step at a time (Kata #2).

It works – you can do it – if nobody has ever given you permission or support, I’m giving it to you right now.




My wife-to-be is going to get mad at me if she reads how many words I’ve spent on this post with all the stuff I’ve got to do.

So save me by defining one of the terms you’re going to live your life by starting from today in the Comments section below.

That way, if I can show her I inspired a bunch of my insiders to better lives, she’ll cut me some slack. 🙂

Plus, writing them down is 10x more powerful than leaving them in your head.

Let me hear it – don’t be shy, share your goals below and save me from a night in the dog house!


– Eric


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henryAgnus SennerMatthewAlancodie Recent comment authors
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my dream id to move to canada and study science, i was told by many of of my family members that it is not worth it, but getting back up after falling down is how you reach your goals, refusing resignation, never give up and keep moving forward, i am sure i will reach my goal

Agnus Senner

I like to read your site a couple times a week for new thoughts. I was wondering if you have any other subjects you write about?


“Define your terms”
Ha! Spoken like a single guy! 😀


all my life ive been told what i cant do whats impossible and ive listened considered the options and then proved them wrong now people are amazed by what i do each day somethin new something better something i pushed into reality make your own rules thats the “kata” i live by


I moved to Australia 5 years ago and was a prison guard at the time. I got here and spoke to a recruiter about what I can do to work in an office job to get my new career path going. She told me I would be better suited manual labor on a construction site. From then on I decided that every time someone told me I couldn’t I would listen to them intently and try and understand why….then I would go do what I thought was right anyways. Since that I am now an IT Project Manager and have tripled my salary since I move to Australia. The morale of the story is to listen to your gut, believe in what you know you can do and push yourself to get better at the things your not. Oh and since I decided to go back to BJJ I used… Read more »


One of my rules I live by in the gym is to never sit a round out in practice, no matter how fatigued I am. Except if im hurt.

shane parkis-cafferkey
shane parkis-cafferkey

Thank you Eric for all your guidence. It seems when ever I can not answer a question for my training. Your answers are there mate.
Congrats on your wedding plans and your speach!!

Thankyou again.


good stuff yet again deep but written in a way we can all get our heads around it!! i find i think with a little more clarity after i have read somehing you wrote


Very moving and motivational. I really like how you always mix up the things you blog about. This one is much deeper and one everyone should read. Thank you Eric for this great blog.


I really appreciate this email and the timing is perfect! After a death in the family and reading a book about Loong, I was forced to examine all three of these katas and how I wasn’t providing for my own needs in these areas. Now I’m doing what I’ve always wanted to do and it’s hard to break over two decades of programming but it gets worth it every single day. THANKS SO MUCH FOR THIS!


Hi Eric,

I am a firm believer in things happening for a reason, I felt compelled to read your email this morning and now I know why. Prior to reading this post, I had a conversation with a friend regarding having the right mental state. The conversation was at the forefront ofmy thoughts for along time afterwards. So reading this post has hit me ina real positive way. At the moment I am training to be a personal trainer and I’ve always aspired tobe self empoyed. Unfortunately alot ofthe people around me lack that “get up and go” So this has been quite refreshing for me.
I am also of Jamaican origin and my father in law is from cork! I agree with Cork Boi. Some Irish people do sound Jamaican.
Eric keep up the good work


it seems people are surprised to discover the very real connection between ‘the islands’ and the irish! FYI – for over a hundred years the irish were shipped as slaves to various carribean islands, in the same disgusting way african americans were shipped as slaves to north america. I’ve never read anything about african slaves replacing them – the English (amongst many others) effectively have used the irish as slaves well into the 1940s.

in regards to self affirmations – I’m finding it only goes so far. As a female boxing/mma coach, I’m finding it very hard to be taken seriously. It seems only a small percentage of men will listen and accept instruction on fighting from a woman. Any suggestions? And don’t say teach women only – it’s too limiting!

Love to hear your commments,


Kick their ass first? I’m only partially kidding with that sadly. I think showing that women can kick ass is probably the best way to show guys that a woman may just have a thing or two to teach them. I grew up with three older sisters so I got plenty of beatings in my younger years =)


thanks eric, self affirmations and katas are to strengthen the mind. I shall take your words and use them. I shall get more confidence and power, thanks Eric


Hey that’s funny about your Jamaican connection Eric. Local folklore in Ireland is that there is a connection between Cork and Jamaica. Some of the first slaves in Jamaican were actually Irish from Cork, sent there by Oliver Cromwell after one of our numerous failed rebellions. They were later replaced by Africans , but they learnt to speak english from the Cork slaves. Cork people speak like jamaicans ( but a lot faster).
Dere might be a bit of de Cork boi in ya after all mon!


Eric (I almost called you Bruce)

well you have inspired me at this time 4am in the morning – just about to go to work in a gym I hate and I agree with you about the slim and untrue people in the gym/fitness industry – I too am starting my own studio for the same reasons – you have really given me a boost this morning to continue plodding towards that dream; THANKS!!! Awesome words of encouragement


Viktor Mate Takacs
Viktor Mate Takacs

Translate the Trachtenberg system of basic Mathematics into my native language by August 31st 2012. Become the fittest and most skillful fighter of my dojo by June 30th 2012 (and accomplishing that by me getting better, not the others getting worse :-)), to be able to snatch a 32kg kettlebell 5 times and execute a pistol with the same by September 2013.

I have to write this down on a nice piece of paper too.

Thanks Eric, you’re good, really good.

VIktor (Hungary)


I ‘m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you ‘re not in this world to live up to mine. Bruce Lee

I follow my own own rules and have for a long time! It is what works, and you can only live to your own expectations. If you set them high your probably gonna be in good shape! To low, and well face it we all know these people!

Best of luck on the doghouse thing! I have been married for 10 years, you learn to put a tv in the garage and avoid enemy fire!

jeff mann

3great books that I think mirror your philosophy: Think And Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, Shut Up, Quit Whining &Get A Life by Larry Winget, and Sex Money Kiss by Gene Simmons. Check them out!


Hi Eric

“Dont wait, the time will never be just right” by Napoleon Hill. Can you give me a list of the self development books that most helped you and I can send you my list and we can compare. I am also way into these kinds of books and audios and can guarantee that they have given you the tools(even though you still did a fair amount of work to apply them – well done to you Eric) to make yourself so successful.



GOOD SHIT!!! seriously…

Greg ripley
Greg ripley

I’ve got a seven month old baby and had gotten very out of shape and sedentary as I’ve been back in school studying chinese medicine. I decided I wanted to be in better shape to be able to run around and play with her as she grows up. Then I decided I wanted to be in the best shape of my life by 40 (about a year from now). Now I realize why stop there? Everyday I’m a little stronger, a little more fit, a little more able to do whatever I want. Now I want to translate that freedom and versatility into every aspect of my life.

Congratulations on the upcoming wedding and thanks for all the great stuff you’ve been sharing.


my goals: lose 3% more body fat by the end of the year, develop better striking technique, improve stamina and agility.
there we go! they’re written in stone and now not just in my head. i’m believing!


I am going to write this down in my personal journal….very very inspiring Eric…keep up the good work…


I have been looking forward to this post from you. Initially, I was looking forward to something that I could ‘cut and paste’ into my life. But I am so glad that it is more than that. I have always believed in doing things my way, even when everyone tells me I’m wrong, I keep trying until it works – for me.
Congrats on the upcoming big day!

Geoff Hetherington

Hi Eric – good post – the mental / attitudinal side of the equation is often overlooked or reduced to ‘rehearse what you want mentally’ only execution.
I enjoy the blog and the know-how imparted. Congrats on the upcoming nuptuals as well.

Be well & stay strong!

Vic Magary

Man, just seeing the term “kata” referenced on a site focused on MMA does my heart good. I’m a traditional karate guy and I LOVE kata. In my mind kata puts the “art” in martial arts. Your adaptation of making the kata stand for the the pillars of mental fortitude is outstanding. Many thanks.