My Next Eighteen Months Are Critical!

Steven Barnes
2 min readDec 9, 2022

I am in the early stages of analyzing what I’d need to have fun in Manila 2024 at the Filipino Martial Arts conference. I was robbed of his once-in-a-lifetime experience by Covid in 2020, and more or less concluded my window had passed. But now, with about 16 months until the event, I’m seriously thinking that it might be SMART for me to plan to go.

  1. Big goals are motivating.
  2. I’ll have to raise my energy, which is useful in EVERY arena of life, so long as it flows in the right direction and with the right rhythm.
  3. I can see how it would help my personal life, my physical life, and my financial life

So the question is one of basics, the balance between the Morning Ritual and the Five Minute Miracle

What might the basic program be? The minimum?

Well…the minimum might be Firedance Tai Chi in the morning for health, basic fitness, and body-mind connection, goals and role models of excellence, emotional flooding for confidence and gratitude.

Then the “Five Minute Miracle” is the Five Tibetans, distributed through the day. “Advanced Tibetans” uses the Legendary Abs program instead of “Leg Raises” for the second exercise. This advances the abdominal effect, giving me one fitness focus of seriously high value, but the “Hanging Leg Lifts” and “Hanging Knee-ups” also work the pulling muscles and grip. Substitute Hindu Pushups for Tibetan #5, “Upward-Downward Dog”. This works upper body strength.

Tai Chi plus advanced Tibetans is a pretty good basic overall fitness plan. Then I’ll add Kali stickwork in my Pomodoro breaks or 5MM sessions. The most efficient/effective way to increase skill, as well as raising my overall mental work capacity.

That would probably be the minimum, and it might well work. The “Medium” would be adding the general overall Martial arts work (easy to add) in the mornings. And the “Optimum” would be adding BAS, kettlebells, or club-bells. Body Action System is terrifically specific to MA. Club-bells are in that category as well, because of the arcs of motion. However, it is tougher on the joints…I have to be careful. Kettlebells are better than CB for overall fitness in some useful ways, has less joint risk, and I have the added advantage of doing it with Tananarive, tightening our bond as a hunting pair.

That’s my thought: minimum, medium, and Optimum. As long as I sleep well at night, and wake up feeling rested and integrated, joints good and mood high, I am recovering well.

Even if I don’t ultimately decide to go (and I think I’ll make the decision by Jan 1st) the focus will be great for the challenges coming in 2023. There are ways that the next 18 months of my life are everything I”ve been working toward for decades. I have to be my very best. One way of keeping myself honest is to discuss my plans publicly, so you guys can hold me accountable and ask the hard questions.





Steven Barnes

Steven Barnes is a NY Times bestselling author, ecstatic husband and father, and holder of black belts in three martial arts.