Training for Warriors: Attention to detail

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[First published in 2010. Part of the Training for Warriors series, by Martin Rooney*]


“A mountain is composed of tiny grains of earth. The ocean is made up of tiny drops of water.
Likewise, life is but an endless series of little details, actions, speeches, and thoughts. And the consequences,
whether good or bad, of even the least of them are far-reaching.” – Sivananda

When I was invited back
to Helsinki, Finland, for the
Finnish Coaches Association
and they requested I bring a
fighter with me for the Training For Warriors lectures,
Rolles Gracie was my choice.
Over our 8 days in Finland, I
would give 14 presentations
and Rolles would deliver 6. If
I had to sum up the greatest
thing I learned from the entire
experience, it was that everything is about Details.

“A man’s
accomplishments in
life are the cumulative
effect of his attention
to detail.” – John Foster

When Rolles and I both
presented to the groups, I noticed one major similarity: we
were only demonstrating “basic” things, but demonstrating them with “attention to
detail”. Although most attendees knew the moves, techniques and exercises we were
delivering, they knew nothing about the details. A little
change in the position of a
grip or the hips, or subtle
change in the order of a technique made all the difference.
Rolles was meticulous in his
coaching and as I watched the
group improve, I realized that
everything we are and everything we have become is simply a result of the little details
we either did or did not pay
attention to in our lives with
our Jiu-Jitsu game, our fitness
level and even our bank

“Success is the sum
of details.” – Harvey

Roger Gracie once told
me that the difference between him and other Jiu-Jitsu
players of lesser ranks was not
that he knew any more moves,
but the fact that he could get
those moves to work on anyone. How he did that, he
shared, was in the details. My
question to you the reader is,
“Do you get excited about the
details?” Oftentimes when I
train people, they are always
looking ahead to the newer,
fancier move. Everyone wants
to try the flying armbar, yet
have they really mastered the
details of a regular armbar
first? If not, again that JiuJitsu player may be a person
that has a bunch of knowledge, but an inability to execute even basic techniques.
This leads me to another question only you can answer for
yourself, “If you know what to
do, but cannot do what you
know, does it matter that you
know it at all?”
We all know the big idea.
We all know that eating right,
exercise, practice, getting
enough sleep and studying
are easy ways to get what we
want. Unfortunately, people
either don’t know, don’t apply
or forget the proper details or
choose the wrong details in
these areas. In any of these
scenarios, this leads people in
the wrong direction and then
don’t get the results they
want. The less you adhere to
the proper details, the further you are kept from your goals
and your opportunity to reach
your potential is diminished.

“It’s the little details that
are vital. Little things
make big things happen.”
– John Wooden

Here is a list of what I
consider to be some major
areas and the corresponding
details you need to follow if
you would like to enjoy greater success. I will warn you, inability to follow these details
will continue to the cycle of
disappointment and unhappiness you might be experiencing. Our purpose in life, warriors, is to reach our potential.
Without proper attention to
the details, this will be impossible. When you do follow
them, you will become more
“on purpose” and great things
will start to happen, I

Improving Technique,
getting another belt

The Big Idea: To drill moves
The Details to Follow:
Learn proper techniques of a
move. Drill the move at every
session. Perform 2-3 sessions
per week minimum. Perform a
technique 50 times per session. Perform 50 times on both

Improving Nutrition,
getting more fit

The Big Idea: To watch what
you eat
The Details to Follow:
Write down the type of food
you are eating. Write down the
amount of food you are eating.
Remove the bad food choices.
Remove the excess calories.
Add good food choices. Drink
only water. Chew each mouthful 20 times.

Improving Sleep, getting
more rest

The Big Idea: Get 8 Hours
per night
The Details to Follow: High
protein snack a few hours before bed. Avoid caffeine and
alcohol. Get to bed at the
same time every night. Turn
off the TV. Turn off the cell
phone. Close the shades,
make the room as dark as

Improving Knowledge,
becoming more valuable

The Big Idea: Read a book
The Details to Follow: Select a topic worth studying.
Set aside 30 min a night. Turn
off TV and phone. Position
yourself seated. Read 20 pages
minimum a night. Keep a journal of your best ideas

Improving Exercise,
becoming more

The Big Idea: Work out 4
times per week
The Details to Follow: Plan
out workout schedule each
week. Work out every muscle
group at least once a week.
Don’t skip any sessions. Warm
up before each workout. Record results of each session.
Stretch after sessions.

* Martin Rooney is the founder of the Training for Warriors system and has trained champion fighters for the UFC, Pride, ADCC and Olympics. His TFW fitness program is used in over 175 facilities in 25 countries around the world. Information about TFW certifications at

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