Transforming Lives Through Purposeful Martial Arts Training

The most exceptional martial arts studios will combine methods from various arts into comprehensive training that is designed well beyond the lesson taught on the mat. Dedicated martial art programs connect physical training to psychology. This combination is the key to continued success, personal betterment, and transformation.

When students begin training with an excellent studio, there is a sense of value and acceptance. Immediately, a collaboration begins between instructor and student, and some last lifetimes. As those in training become masters, many become teachers and stay connected with their art on multiple levels. There is something unique about the relationships that form through the commonality of martial arts. Relationships based on respect and honor create accountability to self and others.

Incorporating Professional Coaching and Performance Psychology

Some martial art studios only teach one martial arts style and focus on students mastering skills within that art. If competing is the sole purpose of training, these studios may more quickly enhance the skills necessary to compete. However, the studios rising to the top stay close to the foundation of martial arts. These studios are excelling at combining martial arts techniques with psychology on a journey to personal betterment. In well-rounded studios, skill and psychology are inseparable. Joining these two aspects of martial arts training provides students with transformative experiences.

Program Progression Should Be Clear and Well Developed

Studios with clear and well-developed programs take the guessing and risk of inequality out of the natural progression of the process. Excellent programs will have thoughtful milestones, keeping in mind the critical elements required to progress up through rank. Moving up in rank and belt color should be connected to the self-improvement of each individual. Mastering any martial art is a journey, and every advancement should result in a more well-rounded person.

An example of the highest standard of training is the five-step program offered through SwiftKick Martial Arts in San Diego. Owner and founder Brian Cowell has been in martial arts for many years and has a passion for sharing all it has done with others. Brian has witnessed martial arts training transform him, his students, and the instructors, and he knows it can do the same for others. His own life transformed through dedication and a commitment to training, and Brian wants to see every student realize the same potential within themselves.

The transformative five-step program begins with self-awareness and progresses purposefully through steps that build upon one another and leave every student a better version of themselves.


Some students are made aware of themselves for the first time in martial arts. Society teaches us to look out for ourselves, which is often done with mindless disregard for others. Self-awareness as the foundation of the five-step program creates a strong starting point for all students. It is also a step that involves acknowledging nobody knows everything, and there is always something to glean and learn. Self-awareness stirs a hunger to learn more and listen more.


Once self-awareness is realized, students move into self-control, which includes emotions and actions. In all students, self-control is the ability to manage emotional surges that may typically result in harsh words or actions that are regrettable. Young students and adults must recognize that self-control is essential to be their best selves. Self-control must be exhibited inside and outside the studio. True mastery of self-control is displayed in the workplace and on the road. Rage is not an option; students must demonstrate techniques to control themselves to progress to the next step in this incredible program.


The third step is perseverance and applying it on the studio mat and in all areas of life. Instilling internal drive through tenacity and an unwillingness to give up must exist to succeed in martial arts, and that is why it is one of the steps of Brian’s program. Having lived through it, Brian recognizes perseverance happens throughout the martial arts journey and beyond. Setting and achieving personal goals in martial arts training makes it unique from other athletics. The competition is truly with oneself. Martial arts depend on an individual’s ability to push through challenges physically and mentally.


The fourth step is courage for SwiftKick students as they face and overcome rational and irrational fears. Because exceptional martial arts training requires the engagement of both the mind and body (and self-awareness and self-control are previous steps in the process), by the time students get to step four, they are equipped to overcome many fears.


The final step is humility. Humility is a challenge for most people. Although it is biblical, our culture does not teach humility. Our culture teaches that boasting oneself up may result in that promotion you have wanted, or exaggerating skills may result in some advantage. High-level students must have the previous steps to represent best themselves, their studio, and martial arts as a whole. An arrogant master of an art is a narrow way of learning, teaching, and living.

Training can be transformational when martial arts combine physical and mental elements with purposeful and intentional milestones. If you really want to become the best version of yourself, consider a well-rounded martial arts program with clear goals and encouraging and capable staff.

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