shaolin-monk-headstandEvery year, at the mark of the beginning of the Chinese New Year, we take the opportunity to accept the 100 Day Challenge.  The 100 Day Challenge is an old tradition in the Chinese martial arts and self-cultivation community wherein practitioners focus on one specific skill or set of skills for 100 days straight.  This practice can result in substantial improvements in skill, focus, discipline, and of course health.  The 100 day length is important because tradition has it that 3 months of repeated practice will result in a habit.  The particular skill or practice varies depending on the practitioner’s preference.  It can be anything from various martial applications, forms, meditation, Qigong, yoga, physical fitness routines, or mental skills.  It doesn’t have to be new, or difficult, or intense–but it can be.  The practice itself is not as important as the intention and engagement involved in the discipline.

While it can be challenging to stay with the discipline, the practitioner is advised to take it easy but steady.  If one is practicing a physical discipline, it is within the realm of the intention to read related material or write in one’s journal on the days when actually practicing may not be possible due to other life demands.  One is also advised to take a day off from the practice once a week–a day of rest.  It is also recommended that one keep a training journal during the 100 days, to keep track of progress and as a learning tool.

Needless to say, this is a very individual and informal practice.  It is always helpful to get together occasionally with like-minded practitioners for support and sharing of info.  Otherwise, dig in and make a difference.