Biggest Mistake When Learning A Martial Art

Your sparring partners and even your grumpy coach compliment your performance, making you feel on top of the world.

What could go wrong now?

Complacency is the biggest stumbling block to progress in martial arts and can crush one’s growth, foster enmity, and worst of all, regression of the skills that one has built up.

When I first began boxing, alongside me there was another student who had just joined. Both of us were present In most of the training sessions and I had to admit, he had a knack for boxing and progressed significantly faster than me. However, after seven months, there was a shift.

I noticed that he began attending lesser classes and during training, he kept up with the moves he was comfortable with and rarely put the effort in to learn more difficult moves that the coach taught. He began to shun anything that challenged him out of his comfort zone and forced him to confront his weaknesses as everyone progressed and kept on building more advanced moves unto the strong foundation that we had laid, he was still stuck trying to build a foundation.

Eventually, he ended up quitting. That was a lesson I always remembered and kept to heart and without doubt, there were many others who also succumbed to complacency.

The problem with most people who are new to a style or school is they don’t know what they don’t yet know. They have no idea how much more there is to learn and how far they still need to go. This is why so many people get frustrated when they see their instructor teaching something he/she knows nothing about.

Summed up best by the president of the Miami Heat, Pat Riley,

“Complacency is the last hurdle standing between any team and its potential greatness.”

There comes a point where one might feel like he knows it all and with the external validation and praises he gets, he begins to slacken knowingly or unknowingly. Complacency is a silent killer as it creeps in gradually and infects the mind and once it has gotten full control of it, the person is done for.

From personal experience, It is very disappointing and disheartening to see someone with much potential and even natural talent, succumb to the disease of complacency which not all recover from.

The moment thoughts like, “What’s more to learn?” Or “I know everything” seeps in, one has to boot them out of his mind without mercy for if allowed to grow, they never fail to eventually ruin his performance.

Complacency is insidious for another reason in that it sows self-loathing and knocks one’s self-esteem down which leads to a person being more risk averse and the receptivity to learn new things significantly reduces and the road leads down. As a matter of fact, take a look at any top professional boxer, mixed martial artist, or even basketball and football player, there is a huge emphasis on always being open to learning, keeping one’s ego in check, and staying hungry for progress lest they be corrupted by complacency.

It is very humbling and at times downright difficult for the ego to accept that no matter how much one knows or has accomplished, there will always be many other things that are not known, and learning truly never ends. Besides complacency, you could fall into these common mistakes when learning a martial art.

1. You Don't Know What To Do If Someone Attacks You!

If someone attacks you while practicing martial arts, what do you do? Most people would say they'd defend themselves, but if you've ever been attacked before, then you know how hard it is to actually hit someone who's attacking you. So instead of defending yourself, you'll probably just try to run away. But running away isn't going to help you much either. Running away only makes things worse. Instead, you need to learn how to fight back effectively.

2. You're Not Prepared For An Injury

When learning any type of martial art, you have to realize that injuries are inevitable. Injuries happen even to the best fighters out there. And if you don't prepare for them, you could end up losing a limb or something else. That's why you should always practice self-defense techniques with protective gear.

3. You Can't Fight Fairly

Fighting fair means fighting without hurting anyone. Fighting fair doesn't mean being nice though. It means using your skills to win. If you want to learn how to fight fairly, you first need to understand the rules of combat. Then you need to train your body and mind to become stronger than your opponent. Once you've done that, you can start training your brain to think faster and make smarter decisions.

4. You Don't Have Enough Time

Learning martial arts takes time. There's no way around it. Even if you spend hours each day studying, you won't get anywhere unless you put in enough effort. If you don't have enough time, then you need to find ways to cut down on the amount of time you spend doing nothing.

5. You Don't Understand Your Opponent

You may not believe this, but some people aren't trying to hurt you. They might be trying to teach you a lesson. Or maybe they're just having fun. Either way, you shouldn't take their actions personally. Learn to separate yourself emotionally from the situation. Otherwise, you'll never learn anything.

6. You Think You're Too Old

There's no age limit when it comes to learning martial arts. However, if you're old, then you might not be able to keep up with younger students. If that happens, then you need to accept that fact. Just because you're older doesn't mean you can't still learn.

7. You Don't Practice Hard Enough

Martial arts require lots of physical activity. If you don't exercise regularly, then you won't be prepared for real fights. If you don't work hard at your studies, then you won't progress fast enough.

We also covered on topics regarding whether karate can be self taught or not and comparison of martial arts vs street fights.

Martial arts enthusiast & loves exploring all of life before it all ends!
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