The Mental Arts Papers
The Mental Arts Papers
Peaks and Valleys: Tidbit, Feb. 19th

Peaks and Valleys: Tidbit, Feb. 19th

(For my new—and old subscribers—on Friday, the tidbit will be an audio excerpt from an interview!)

Excerpt of my interview with Cody Maltais of Elevate MMA Academy.

From a long-time listener:

[Cody is] actually my favorite interviewee so far. He’s processed so much. I am impressed by his balanced perspective and general seriousness.

Cody Maltais:

First of all, talking about peaks and valleys. One thing that's super key to recognize is that valleys don't inherently feel good. If you're judging yourself based on the level of cardio shape that you're in, but you need to let your body get a little bit de-conditioned, so it can you can move back up to that next peak. People who only want that gold star of like, "Oh, I did X and felt like I was in good shape doing it..." to all of a sudden, not get that gold star, it requires recalibrating. That's where we have to change that judging focus of like, "I want to be in the best shape all the time..." It's like, "Cool, well, you're never going to hit a true peak."

So if I'm truly trying to get up high, I need to embrace the low part as part of the process and not put like a qualitative judgment on that.

Embracing that valley is super important and understanding that it's part of the whole thing.

Beyond that, one thing that always stands out to me when I read Art of Learning is that you read about Josh's process and it's like, "Man, this process sounds so good. It sounds so healthy. It sounds like it's very obvious why he got good at things quickly. Right?"

And then there's the point he's talking about doing his push hands practice before he even takes it to the martial aspect. And he says that he was in class with one of the greatest masters in America of this art. And he was doing the class alongside 20 other people, but they weren't doing the same classes because they were completely internally focused. Right.

They were just looking at themselves in the mirror and they're like, "I think I look cool" but Josh is watching the instructor and allowing his body to mirror those postures. And he's taken on all these hidden lessons.

Once again, because he allows open space because he cultivates presence as the way of life, his practice is different than other people's practice. The level of intentionality behind his practice is different. When you hear him doing it, why wouldn't yeah, this is just what practice is. And it's like, no, no, no, we have to have that presence. We have to have that focus.

Why did he go into the martial aspect of Tai Chi? He was hesitant to do it because he didn't want it to go sour like chess had for him.

The challenge for him was taking that new found peace and intentionality and mindset, and being able to maintain that calm while somebody is coming to take his head off.

And that's the thing is, you know, when we're practicing day in and day out, are we curious?

I talk about it in terms of color codes, which is a military thing. If you're code white, you're basically just oblivious to the entire world around you. If you're code yellow, you're generally open looking for information. If you're orange, you've identified a specific threat. If you're red, you're 100% locked on. That's basically like being in a firefight. And then black is when you get too excited and you go completely offline.

After a fight, when somebody comes out of the cage and I'm like, "Hey, what about this?" And they're like, "I don't remember anything." They went to black.

When we're in practices, are we in that yellow, orange zone of being playful and intentional and relaxed in our training?

Or are we in that red zone of like trying to kill them and rip their arm off?

Or are we so overwhelmed that day that we're black and we don't remember anything?

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