I am often asked what is the toughest part of martial arts training. Surprisingly, the actual training is not the hardest part at all. The hardest part of training are the mind games before class, where your brain is trying to give you every reason to just “take it easy…you can go to training another time”.
Successful people (which I know you are) do not give in to these inner voices. They have an inner drive, commitment and discipline to actually show up to class day after day and do what it takes. Or, to word it another way…consistency.
Martial arts’ training brings small benefits with each class. But you must actually show up to class to garner these small benefits.
Putting in the time
Whether you are training for your next grading, tournament, getting fit, losing weight, whatever the reason…you must put in the time in the dojo. This is what helps gradually improve your technique. And what is the most important part of each grading? “Knowing Your Technique”.
With martial arts, you do not have to put in epic sessions all of the time. Sometimes, simply getting back to the basics is what you need. This can include ensuring you come back to fighting stance after each technique, keeping your guard up, chambering and recoiling your kicks, or having proper position with your groundwork. 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, no matter how tedious it may seem at the time. There will come a time later on when you will be glad you put in the “small efforts”.
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 consistent training schedule, while also having a great community that you love coming and training with. We just happen to have this at Quantum Martial Arts / Northstar Ju Jitsu.
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. It does for me. We all have a life outside of the dojo. On those days when you realise your allotted 2 hour time slot somehow got reduced to 60 minutes, rather than skipping training altogether, simply come to one session instead. Every single workout counts.
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 workout! And do not over-think things. 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. Not only do good training partners make good company, but they can also make hard sessions fun.
- Consider working out in the morning before the hectic day forces you to miss a night class. I always prepare for my workout week. I iron my work clothes and gis on the weekend and take them into work. I prepare my meals the night before so there is no excuse for missing my morning workout. I try not to let anything interrupt 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. The family that trains together stays together.
- 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.
Have a great week. All of the instructors look forward to consistently seeing you in class 🙂