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Things I learned from my Cat
By Bob Hubbard

With a title like that, you would think this was a humor bit. Its not, though it is intended to be a bit light hearted. I recently became the personal servant to a 1 yr old leopard-spotted member of the Felis domesticus species. One of the games I play with her is ‘chase the laser pointer’ also known as “Mr. Red Dot”. Now, I know you’re going “What’s this have to do with training?” Well, actually, a lot.

The Chinese arts have the reputation of having been developed based in part on how animals stalk and battle their prey. The common house cat, while not on par with its wild cousin, still has the instincts. Some of the things I learned include:

1: Leap for it.
You never know if you can reach it unless you try.

Often, while chasing “Mr. Red Dot” I’ll run it up a wall. She’ll usually make the leap and more often than not, hit it. How many of us stop when the bar goes up, pausing our training cold and losing our momentum? The key here is, leap for it. You may hit the wall, but you may also hit the goal too.

2: Patience.
Don’t rush until its time, then, go all out until you get it!

Many times, she’ll pause and wait for the chance to pounce. Many times, when I think she’ll go, she still waits. When she pounces, she usually nails it. If she misses it, she immediately leaps into pursuit, running it to ground. How many times so we punch too soon, or kick too late? How often do we miss a goal, get discouraged and pause? The key here is, wait until the target is square in your sites, and then nail it. If you miss, don’t stop, keep at it. But proper preparation is a key.

3: Enjoy “Mr. SunBeam”.
Take the time to charge your batteries. Cats have a leisurely existence.
Too many of us rush to work, rush home, rush to train, rush through training, rush home, and repeat the whole thing tomorrow. Take a few moments to rest and calm yourself before work, and training. You’ll find better progress when your mind is calmer and more open to learn. You’ll also help cut back the effects of stress on the mind and body. Your family will thank you.

4: He who can catch a fly bare pawed, is master.
Yes, we all saw the Karate Kid where Mr. Miyagi tries to catch a fly with chopsticks, fails, yet his student Daniel succeeds. I was once watching my mom’s old cat chase a fly around the room. He stalked it, waited, leaped for it, and caught it. He was the master. Hard to think something with the ‘no thumbs’ handicap could catch something as fast and small as a fly. But, it can be done.

5: Be Persistent.
Every morning, at 6:35 a cat that wants her breakfast awakens me. Never mind I’m trying to sleep. Never mind the 20+ times I push her off the bed. She’ll keep coming back until she gets what she wants. Be persistent. If you’re having trouble with a technique, concept or some other aspect of your training, keep at it until you get it. Don’t give up. Thankfully, my cat doesn’t have the benefit of a good coach or instructor, but we do. When you get stuck, seek out help. This way you can be both persistent, and train smart at the same time.

We can learn a lot from the animals. Sometimes, even the keys to taking our training up another notch.


Bob Hubbard is an administrator of the popular martial arts portal site and president of SilverStar WebDesigns inc., a web site design and hosting company specializing in affordable solutions for martial artists. A student of all the arts, he is currently studying Modern Arnis.
Bob can be reached at

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