Long-term martial arts training has significant benefits that can only be achieved with an extended commitment. Although one-off training, like self-defense, can be beneficial, the longer commitments yield the most recognizable achievements. Like other activities, there are many reasons students quit something. Martial arts are no different. It is critical that instructors and studios help students achieve notable milestones to best encourage long-term commitment to the sport.
Getting Started is the First Milestone in Martial Arts
Although it may not seem like a milestone, students showing up and participating in a class is the first milestone. Many families think about signing up their little ones, or it crosses their minds to go themselves, but actually showing up is a significant milestone. Life is full of distractions, and it is easy to keep saying you are going to do something without ever getting around to actually doing it. Encouraging someone thinking about martial arts training or telling others about their own intentions to do so can both be helpful in having those thoughts come to fruition.
It is critical for new students or those trying out a class for the first time to feel welcome and encouraged by instructors and peers. Studios carry a great responsibility to be the reason someone comes back again. When someone arrives to observe a class or participate, the lessons should be organized, engaging, and purposeful.
The White Belt Milestone in Martial Arts Training
Everyone got their first white belt, no matter how advanced someone is in a martial art or what color belt they currently hold. Achieving a white belt is something that every martial arts student will experience, and it is a significant milestone that should be appropriately celebrated. Some studios consider the first time that students display an understanding of a skill another white belt moment in the martial arts journey. Students who spar or break a board for the first time may have a white belt experience, and it is often those moments that keep students coming back. Studios should design their programs to have these white belt milestones throughout the program to help students continue achieving new skills along the way.
Reaching 100 Days of Training is a Significant Milestone in Martial Arts
Whether talking about new employees or starting a new activity, it is common for people to quit something within 90 days of starting. Students will leave martial arts training without forming a new habit because they have not balanced the recent activity and time commitment into their schedules and lives. Starting in kindergarten, students celebrate 100 days of school. Reaching 100 days of training is a significant milestone, both in number and accomplishments in that time frame.
Studio owners and managers should have practices in place to contact students when they miss class and encourage them to return to the next session—feeling valued and missed when not there can have a considerable impact on a student\’s desire to return. Instructors would be wise to ask new students or students who tend to miss when they will be back can help establish an expectation of their return. Accountability will keep martial arts students coming back.
Belt Achievements Are Always Important Milestones to Have Students Work Towards
A well-designed martial arts program will have students set personal goals to achieve the next level of belt color and ranking. Although not everyone wants to get a black belt when they begin martial arts training, long-term commitment should be the ultimate goal that instructors point their students toward. When instructors encourage students to work towards a black belt, it gives students something to focus on that is not immediately achievable. If students have a black belt as a goal, they are more likely to stay in training and put in the work to get there.
Everybody wins when the goals are set because the benefits continue to develop and increase as students remain in martial arts training for longer. The combination of the physical and mental benefits of martial arts training can help people overcome adversity, illness, and hardship in their personal lives. Sticking with martial arts mentally prepares students for success well beyond the studio. Assisting students to set and achieve these essential milestones will make the difference between staying with a martial arts training program and walking away. Do not underestimate the role of the studio owner, the instructors, and peers that are part of the program and integral to a student\’s success in martial arts.
If you reside in San Diego and are considering martial arts training or have moved and are looking for a studio in your area, SwiftKick Martial Arts has two convenient locations in Carlsbad and Rancho Bernardo. If you have a child that would benefit from the structure and growth of a martial arts training program, try a free class before putting it off any longer!