The individual who knows the score about life sees difficulties as opportunities.

“The individual who knows the score about life sees difficulties as opportunities.”

Norman Vincent Peale

In this blog I want to talk about the three essentials to martial arts success. By success I mean having a high skill level and competency. The martial arts are an endeavour that everyone wants to be good at but few ever reach, mostly because of the three reasons below:

Put In The Time

By time I mean get serious about your commitment to it. It takes literally years to be a good martial artist and even more years again to be in the top 20% of your field. If the martial arts is just something you’re doing to kill time until the next exciting things comes along, you are doomed to never really achieve anything of substantial value. And you will be like all the other students that start training and quit when it becomes too difficult, hard, time consuming and challenging. If you want results you have to pay the price of time – there are no shortcuts.

Do The Reps

Doing the reps (repetitions) is doing a particular technique over and over again until you not only get it right, but you take personal ownership of it. Once you have ownership of a technique you can make it work almost every time. The problem for most of us is not lack of knowledge but rather not enough application of that knowledge. In my Brazilian Jui Jitsu training I went through a stage of trying to learn too much too quickly with disastrous results. And while I am still a beginning student and in the grand scheme of things still pretty crap at it, since I have been focusing all my training and attention on getting my basic game right I have noticed some big improvements. Same thing has happened in my practice as a percussionist (my other passion). All I do now when I practice is spend 80% of my time on foundational riffs and patterns and 20% of my time on new material. And that has improved my ability no end. 

The biggest barrier for most people when pumping out reps is boredom. But once you conquer that internal hurdle you will love doing reps, why? Because you will be good at it and everybody loves doing stuff they are good at. When you’re good at it, it becomes easy. Look at any elite athlete and most people say he/she makes it look so easy, and you know what? For them it is easy because they have done it some many times.

Willing To Be Crap

We live in a media driven culture that tells us that we can have whatever we want and have it now. And for tangible items such as TV’s, lounge suites, i-pods, camera’s, DVD’s, game consoles, clothes etc. that is pretty much true. You save some cash and you buy it (for everything else there’s mastercard ha ha). But in the area of martial arts this is not true. With very rare exception, everyone comes into it with little to no idea and consequently has to put in a fare whack of time before any results are noticeable.  And on some level most of us know that but on another level most of us struggle with the idea that we are crap at something. This struggle is born from our ego, which is the part of us that constantly compares and judges ourselves and where we stack up. And while our ego can serve a purpose in driving us to improve, so that we stack up better in the eye’s of our peers - at the end of the day you have to let that go and just focus on your own development. When you focus on your own development, rather than being better than everyone else, you become more aware of and more honest with your own strengths and weaknesses. Once you have that self awareness you can go about tackling each weakness one step at a time.