The Value Of Martial Arts Training

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I was talking to a parent recently and they told me that their son was not going to compete in wrestling because they were afraid he would get frustrated when he lost. The parent felt the child was far too sensitive to handle the frustration of failure and may get ‘burnt out’.

My response was, “What will they do when they get frustrated in life?” What happens when that kid has got to suck it up and go forward when it REALLY counts? Being a new parent, my daughter is only 2 and I have another on the way, I only want the best for my child. What parent doesn’t? It’s obvious this parent wants the same, but that’s not the issue. The issue is what’s best for everyone involved. What this child is being taught is to quit when things get tough. In an effort to protect the child, the parent winds up doing a disservice to the child. The result is undermining the ultimate goal- the training of the child. I’m clearly not saying throw them repeatedly until sink or swim, but there has to be an alternative to abstention.

Life is training

How does this pertain to you? Segue here: when you train, you want to look good. You want to hit hard and perfect every time. You want to throw for ippon every time. You want to score a knock out or submission every time. Every technique you throw must its mark. Just like that parent- you want everything to go smoothly with out any hiccups or mistakes. As in life: “what you want and what you got, aren’t exactly the same thing.”

If you are training and you never make a mistake, you are probably not pushing yourself or being pushed enough. If that’s not the case- give me your number, I want to train with you. If you’ve ever been in a situation where you had to survive, hardly anything goes smoothly- save the one punch knock out. A fight is frustrating, it doesn’t look aesthetically pleasing; it hurts, it’s moments of frustration highlighted by some good or bad luck. Please note: according to my Dad “luck” is where preparation meets opportunity. No doubt a sentiment echoed from his days in the Marines.

Like that parent I mentioned before- you treat your training like that child. You are worried about the minutia. Micro-managing your work out so you feel better every second without looking at the big picture. How will you deal with the frustration of a real knock down, drag out fight?

Unless you’re dealing with a push-over, you’ll have you’re your hands full. Where a lot of traditional type martial artists fail is that they expect that perfect reverse punch to hit its target EVERY TIME. This is a goal of training. An idea, like finding the perfect cherry blossom or the perfect cheese steak; the one shot, one kill can be translated any number of ways. Again, the Japanese language is comprised of a lot of synonyms. It could mean, you only get one opportunity- make it count!

In your training you need to replicate the frustration of the fight. If you are hitting your training dummy perfect every time- go harder and faster. If you are being too successful- push the people around you. Get them a little agitated (I’ll leave that to your imagination). If you don’t, you will be setting yourself up for a big let down. When it really counts- YOUR instincts will not be ready to fight through it.

Just like that child, you will look to back away and quit because that’s what you were taught. What do you do when you get frustrated? You train harder and fight through it.

Remember: Life is Training

Training enables you to handle what life hands you better. Experience is what you get after you deal with what life gives you. Your experience gets put back into your training.

You’re constantly training and teaching- whether you like it or not. No matter what you do you’re shaping your behavior and the behavior of people around you. People affect you the way you allow them to. But that’s a whole other discussion.

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