Goal Setting For Martial Arts

QMA - Goal Setting for Martial Arts 1

Goal setting is one of the keys to success. In martial arts, you regularly get a chance to achieve your goals. This can be in the form of a grading, a tournament, learning your syllabus or simply getting fitter. In every single class, there is always some way for you to progress. This is why I consider martial arts a great way to “build a better you”, as you are not just learning, but feeling good about achieving goals.

In saying this, there are goals that progress you forward and there are goals that hold you back. If you are setting goals that hold you back, you will not feel right. It is how you address your martial arts goals that make all the difference.

Stay Optimistic and Hands-On

Determine each martial arts goal in terms of getting to a place of positivity rather than avoiding a negative one. For example, “I will stop being lazy” has the potential to make you feel guilty and bring you down, especially if you do not feel you have broken that laziness. Instead, “I will show up to class on Monday” is more active, encouraging and you will be more proud of yourself.

Behavioural Goals Support Action

Pick a behavioural goal rather than a result-oriented goal. This helps you stay in control. For example, “I will pack my gi and have everything ready so that there is no excuse for not showing up to class” is better than telling yourself “I will master my syllabus for grading in 3 months time”.

Why? Because at the end of each day / week, you have successfully achieved your goal if you have showed up to class. However, if you have not mastered the syllabus for your next grading, you may feel like you are failing. Value your efforts! If you show up to class and train smart, you will learn the techniques you need to learn anyway.

Make Martial Arts Goals Specific And Measurable

We all know that making goals specific and measurable will help you stay focused. Focus is one of the key ingredients to martial arts success. If your goal is to “attend class as much as possible”, how do you know whether you are achieving it? Instead, make your goal “I will go to class two times this week” or “I will attend a sparring session”.

At the end of the week, if you have done just that, you have then reached your goal. It will be much easier for you to see that you are making progress. That is why we give adults signing sheets, or we put the tape on the belts of children. You can see and be proud of your progress….constantly!


This is where a strong community helps make you successful. Once you set your goal, it makes you answerable. As your or your child’s instructors, it also makes us answerable, as we are committed to seeing you succeed. This is the benefit of a strong community. Martial arts takes people out of their comfort zones. This is when you need support. With us, you know you will find that support.

Therefore, set specific and measureable goals, lose any excuses, let your instructors know your plans so we are all answerable, and you will be successful. Commit to the martial arts ethos and never give up. This will not only help your martial arts, but also your lifestyle.

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