Darren Higgs – Quantum Martial Arts Head Instructor with some thoughts on martial arts success
I am often asked what the toughest part of martial arts training is. Surprisingly, the actual training is not the hardest part at all. The hardest part of training is showing up to class day after day after day. Or, to word it another way…consistency. Martial arts’ training brings small benefits with each class. But being able to do hard training consistently month after month is what will yield lasting results.
Putting in the time
A large part of martial arts training…whether you are training for your next grading, tournament, getting fit, losing weight, whatever the reason…simply involves putting in the time. It can be easy to get caught up in “cool moves” you may have seen in the UFC or movies, and inspiration from these sources can definitely help improve performance. However, simply spending time on the mats refining and improving your technique consistently will lead to improvements with your martial arts.
With martial arts, you do not have to put in epic sessions all of the time. Sometimes, getting back to the basics is what can help improve you. This can include ensuring you come back to fighting stance after each technique, keeping your guard up and slowing down the moves so you can concentrate on the mechanics. This may not necessarily be exciting, but a lot of the value lies in being engaged in each session. You must learn to embrace the process.
Every martial artist has days where it is hard to get out the door for the next class. The trick for this is to build a training schedule with sessions that may be shorter in duration. For example, on a given night, you do not have to do two classes back to back. At least just do one of the classes. In the long run, this will still be important for your overall development.
Make training work for you
If you know that Tuesdays are filled with meetings and obligations, build your schedule around an easier or rest day on Tuesdays. By building the training schedule around your unique personality and schedule, it will be much easier (and enjoyable) to remain consistent with your training.
It’s not “all or nothing”
Fitting martial arts training into your busy life is bound to create time conflicts at some point. We all have a life outside of the dojo. On those days when you realise your allotted 90 minute time slot somehow got reduced to 30 minutes, rather than skipping training altogether, come to a 30 minute session instead. The small workouts still count. Even a cricketer going for their century still needs to accumulate single runs here and there.
Life happens, so roll with the punches and get back on the plan. Make up the skipped classes by attending on another day. Do the work!. And do not over-think. Martial artists over-think everything. When people over-think, they lose focus on the truly important things: consistency, patience and long-term approach to development.
Rather than over thinking, focus your energy on trusting the classes and instructors, being patient and knowing that consistent training pays off. Your breakthrough performances on grading days or tournaments will reflect the months of consistent hard work in training.
Tips to develop consistent training
- Find training partners who can hold you accountable, make good company and can make hard sessions fun.
- Consider working out in the morning before the hectic day forces you to miss a night class. I also iron my work clothes and prepare my lunches on the weekend and take them into work. This way, I can go straight from morning class to work without interrupting my day.
- Get your family involved so they can help motivate you to attend class. In fact, get your family members and friends doing the martial arts training with you.
- Commit to a training goal (e.g. the next grading), write down this goal and map out a training plan. Speak to your instructors for guidance. By having a concrete goal to work toward, when the training gets tough, you will know what your focus is and be more likely to stick to the plan.
Looking forward to seeing you on the mats!