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Essential Tips for Training

February 2021

6 Essentials for Beginners:

Whether you are a beginner or a veteran to a specific skill set like martial arts there are some common practices that one can do to get the most from their training.  The following illustrates habits that will benefit you inside and outside of the kwoon, (martial arts training space).

  1. Empty Your Cup-  Regardless of your experience level there is always something to learn.  It may be a training philosophy.  It may be a subtle difference in pressure.  It may be a completely new move.  Regardless of what it is there is always something new to learn!

  2. Approach Training as if your Life Depends on It-  Training is not only limited to preparing for someone who is attempting to cause bodily harm or worse.  Training extends into the 99.9% of the rest of our life.  It is about applying the lessons of discipline, control, and critical thought.  LIFE IS MARTIAL ARTS TRAINING, MARTIAL ARTS TRAINING IS LIFE TRAINING!

  3. Write Everything Down-  Any time there is a flow of new information it is common to become overwhelmed with information.  This is especially true when your experience is limited because you have little context to draw from mentally.  Writing down your experiences and techniques during training help you to reinforce the lessons learned during training.  Through writing, you will also become more detail oriented which will help with a myriad of things in your day to day life.

  4. Accept Failure-  Failure is not the same as Quitting.  In training you will fail over and over again.  This is important!  Failure is an important part of learning.  You will learn more from your failures than you will your successes if you are honest with yourself about growth. This holds true in every aspect of your life.  Not one person in your life has never experienced failure.  The difference between a Master and a Beginner is that the Master has Failed more times than the Beginner has Tried. 

  5. Do Not Compare Yourself to Others-  Everyone is at a different level of understanding and skill.  Some achieve skill faster than others.  Some achieve understanding faster than others.  It does not matter how fast or slow one reaches their goal.  What matters is that progress continues infinitely until the goal is met and then still continues.  Progress never stops!

  6. Commit Yourself Fully-  If you only put half effort into anything then you can only expect a fraction of the end result.  This is true in all facets of life:  marriage, parenting, career paths, martial arts.  When you are training, develop the mental discipline to be fully present in training.  You are not grocery shopping; you are not working on a project that is due; you are not watching your favorite TV show.  You are training.  Focus elsewhere only detracts from your current goal which is to develop a new skill in martial arts.  When you are finished training then you shift your focus on the next task which is driving to your next destination and so on...

These 6 list items are not inclusive of everything one needs to know but they are a good beginning to a strong foundation.  A foundation, which if practiced daily will lead to a very fulfilling life.

Beginning As a White Belt:

It has been over 16 years since I had been a white belt in any Martial Art.  As Warrior Meets Scholar recently started its new Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu program I find myself a brand new white belt yet again.  In many ways training in a new skillset is refreshing.  It makes me look at what I know in different ways.  One way is the new angles one must learn to apply the appropriate amount of pressure to execute the proper technique.  There are also new takes on movements that I already know but must do completely different because you are laying on the ground.  The plane of attack is much different than working in a striking style.

Your opponent is either laying on top of you or you are directly on top of them.  Not being able to use striking as part of the entries is a task in and of itself.  The phrase "finding a jiu-jitsu solution to a striking problem" comes to mind very quickly.  Many of the skillsets I already have but need to relearn do apply to the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.  The difficulty is that those skills apply to my legs now and not my hands and arms.  Essentially in Jiu-Jitsu you have 4 arms.  Your legs and feet become a second set of controlling limbs.  This is the most difficult concept to grasp for myself.  Leverage and body positioning is easy.  Using each limb appropriately is the difficult part.

The is a niche use for the grappling art of Jiu-Jitsu in my opinion.  It is very much a controlling system of fighting.  Control, however, takes time which in certain settings is appropriate.  In many settings it is definitely not appropriate.  It is a complimentary skillset that needs to be paired with a striking system to be maximally effective.  It is exponentially easier to set up joint lock submissions and chokes after an opponent has been on the receiving end of a combination of strikes.

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