I get asked from time to time for advice, tips for becoming successful, from students, people I train with, and even from “competitors”. It made me sit down and think about what I think is important and what might be helpful. Here are the keys that I feel are of importance to becoming a good blackbelt, and a pretty good person.
Three Keys to success in martial arts
1) Success in anything, especially martial arts, is simply about consistency. We are what we consistently do. Not what we do intently for six weeks, or a month. You have heard that “Success is 80% showing up on time” and if that is the case then the other 20% is simply staying there.
The people who make it from white belt to blackbelt, or to a championship level are a diverse group. Some athletic, some young, some rich, some poor, some who started with two left feet, some who started after 30, but what they all have in common is consistency. They show up when it is convenient, and when it is not, they make the extra drive to a quality school, they come to class through the highs and lows, through the heat, and cold, through bumps and bruises, through praise and correction. Before they are an expert in martial arts, they are an expert in showing up.
2) Passion is great to get you started, but you need commitment to keep you going. We are never short on passion…..just look at the marriage rate in America, however commitment is a harder commodity to come be……just look at the divorce rate in America!
Everyone loves coming into the dojo when their uniform is new, all the classmates are new, when you haven’t used all the equipment yet, when the techniques are fresh, and when “that was a cool drill, I like that one!” Passion will sweep you through those first few months no problem.
Passion fails to take you past those first few months, past those bumps in the road…..and their will always be bumps in the road, past those minor injuries, those aches and pains, through that time when the drills aren’t so new “not this again”, past repetition “if I have to sidekick again, I am going to scream”, past seeing the same faces “I have to spar them again!”. Passion ignigtes the flame, but commitment is needed to fan it.
Commitment is continuing to train because it is going to take you somewhere you want to go, make you into someone you want to be. It is the “paddle for your sail boat, when the winds die down for a little bit”
3) Pride, showing up is the first step, passion and commitment come next but pride is the difference maker.
Pride is doing that last rep, like the first because you will not accept any less. Pride is giving it all when there is no chance of you winning because you refuse to accept defeat. Pride is “putting your name on your work”. Pride is what separates who wants it enough to go through the motions, and who wants it enough to become their very best. Pride is found clearly seen at the end of the round, after you have been knocked down, when your nose is bleeding, and just beyond where others have quit. Pride is not a function of athletic ability, genetic gifts, or muscle mass, pride is a function of your heart, your desire to be better, you commitment not to fail, and more importantly not to give up.
Of course the three keys are useless without one important factor…..knowledge. Find a martial artist who you want to be like, who exhibits the three keys above, and who will demonstrate all three in passing their skills, knowledge, and example on to you.
Find these keys in yourself and the people around you, and it is not a question of if, but simply when it will be your time to shine.
Hickory Academy of Martial Arts, Hickory NC