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Dojo-Bad ≠ Bad Ass

By admin | In Psychology | on December 14, 2012

When we posted about the art of gaming a long time ago, we wanted to help people be intelligent about their strengths and limitations in approaching a workout. The weights, length, intensity, duration all play into how best to attack it. However, gaming can often be taken into greater extremes such as equipment set up, weights/bands chosen, and even *gasp* taking shortcuts to satisfy range of motion requirements.

The very whiteboard that holds people accountable may be causing some people train poorly just to achieve a faster time/more reps. The whole point of a strength program with a high intensity component is to make you a more well rounded athlete: Stronger and faster in both mind and body.  Sometimes whiteboard times don’t accurately reflect these traits.

You already know how I feel about the butterfly pull up as a replacement for regular kipping ones in a training environment, so I’ll use burpees for my example. This is one of the most bastardized movements I see in class. I can do a bunch of slap the floor, worming, barely jump off the floor, ugly burpees way faster than honest plank ones with a good hop. Will that make me a better athlete? Absolutely not, but it’ll give me a better whiteboard time. That attitude reminds me of my old karate instructor who said it was one thing to do a beautiful kata with pretty kicks and punches, but another entirely to be able to fight. He called it being “dojo-bad.”

Our gym is a controlled environment where you train to be stronger and faster. Find ways to achieve that goal. If it helps you maintain intensity by keeping your equipment closer together, have at it. But make sure your gaming attempts will help you become a better athlete and not just achieve a faster whiteboard time. Confucius say: Being dojo-bad makes you a big fish in a little pond, but a dead fish in the sea. Well, you get the idea.

WOD 12.14.12

Deadlift 1×5 or Wendler


  • 6 Push Jerks
  • 8 Toes to Bar
  • 10 Pistols


3 Comments to "Dojo-Bad ≠ Bad Ass"

  • Alia says:

    December 14, 2012 at 9:30 AM -

    Ruth quoting Confucius = Happy Chinese half of Alia. Love this post.

  • Mike S. says:

    December 14, 2012 at 4:52 PM -

    When selecting weights to use during out workouts (not the lifts but the WODs), is it better to go heavy and slow, or light and fast?

    Is there any benefit of using a 53# kettlebell for swings even if that means I get less rounds during an AMRAP or it takes longer to get in X reps during a timed workout, or do I go for the 35# kettlebell and squeeze some additional rounds/reps (keeping solid form, of course)?

    Or does it depend on individual training goals?

    1. Ruth says:

      December 14, 2012 at 6:12 PM -

      That’s a great question, Mike. It depends on your level as an athlete and on the structure of the WOD. Sometimes a lower # of reps call for a heavier weight while a higher number call for lighter in order to maintain intensity. When in doubt as a trainer.

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