Martial arts training is a commitment. Many begin with big-eyed goals of getting a red or black belt. Although this is achievable, sometimes the journey may be discouraging and lead students to quit. Some in training think they can’t go further or get better within martial arts. Here are some tips for sticking with it and reaping the immense rewards of doing so. Sticking with martial arts and overcoming inevitable hurdles allows you to become an exceptional martial artist. Here are five pro tips from martial arts studios across the nation.
Be Honest with the Director or Instructor
Often, those who quit martial arts fade away into the background. Unfortunately, they may never speak with someone who can encourage them in their continued journey. Most instructors, especially the exceptional ones, have been exactly where they are at that moment. A willingness to share their struggles and how they overcame them can be incredibly encouraging. One thing to remember is that nobody is alone in these feelings and most students go through something similar.
Be open about challenges with the training. Professional instructors will listen, not take it personally, and genuinely try to help you. Sometimes, speaking with someone who has walked in your shoes and overcome it can re-ignite the passion for keeping going.
Taking a Break or Pushing Even Harder
Taking a Break from Martial Arts Does Not Have to Mean Forever
In any activity, people can burn out. Martial arts and other physical activities are no exception. In many situations, people considering quitting martial arts feel they have hit a wall or are not engaged anymore. There are ways to address this burnout in martial arts. Taking a break to try something else, travel, or spend some time doing other self-care can be just what was needed to bring someone back to the studio. Sometimes it is more challenging to come back again after being away, but if you miss it and get back to it, you will be stronger and work harder than ever.
Sometimes pushing through is the best thing. It does depend on the individual and what motivates them. Often, when people push through those moments of uncertainty, they become much stronger. So, if you are someone who knows that pushing harder gets the results, go to the gym when you are not at the studio or take an extra class. Find a way to continue training and pushing through this hurdle; the extra effort to train and workout beyond the types will likely show results faster.
Go Back to the Beginning
As people progress through martial arts, sometimes the short-term and long-term goal setting can be as motivating as discouraging. Lower ranking students have more belts to achieve, but those with black belts also experience the “how much more can I do”? It takes a personal and exceptional studio to continue to challenge and grow students in this predicament. If any level student is experiencing a lull in their training, it is wise to encourage them to take a moment and reflect on why they chose martial arts initially. Watch the Bruce Lee movie that inspired you or think about the heroes you admire in the arts.
It May Be Time to Change Style
There are many different martial art styles, and if you feel the one you are in is not a good fit, try out a class in another art. It is not uncommon for people to be in the wrong art, walk away, and miss all the benefits of another style within the arts. A reputable studio will be able to share other classes that might fit better, and they should be able to watch you walk away and find your passion. True martial artists want people to experience all martial arts, and watching students find one that inspires them is the goal. Giving time, money, and effort into something you are passionate about will inevitably have better results. Studios like Swift Kick Martial Arts in San Diego offer a variety of classes in different styles and have programs specifically designed to incorporate the best of several of the arts.
In life, challenges and hurdles are inevitable. Overcoming those hurdles builds character and can be instrumental in directing our energy to things that benefit us most. If you are training and experience burnout or feeling stuck, you should do a few things before walking away. First, speak with your instructor or the studio director and be honest about your challenges. Second, take a break and allow your mind and body to miss the arts so you can come back even more motivated. Lastly, do not get stuck in one type of martial arts training. A mixed martial arts training program may be best, or something exclusively one art may be best. There are many considerations, so do not turn your back on martial arts altogether. You may need to explore a different type of art that suits you better. There is no shame in any of these; instructors know what you are going through and are the best resource for people facing these challenges in martial arts.