September 2011

Overcoming Your Self beliefs of Inability to Learn Martial Arts.

One of the major problems that many of us face, when taking on a new interest or pursuit, particularly martial arts, is going through the process of learning new skills that we have never encountered before.

We see others doing seemingly effortless movements and techniques in a discipline, such as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, MMA or Muay Thai, and we develop an interest and desire to learn.

However, once we begin to learn the discipline, and especially if we have never done anything like it before, we may well find that we just can’t seem to get it right.

To make things even more difficult, if our fitness is poor and the skills require a reasonable level of fitness we will undoubtedly find the skill acquisition even harder, particularly if the school that you attend puts a lot of emphasis on fitness; a trend found quite common these days with the franchised martial arts program schools that have limited technique knowledge.

You must look for a martial arts school that has an organized skill learning curriculum and that teaches the techniques in a progressive manner that builds a strong foundation, with the basic maneuvers, and then progressively increases the level of complexity and difficulty.

The fitness levels should be built progressively alongside this skill acquisition program so that a good average, and readily maintainable, level of fitness can be acquired that will complement the skill learning program.

We must come to terms with the fact that learning anything takes time, repetition and an acceptance that we must start from the beginning again, and build a strong foundation, before we can expect to be able to develop a high level of competency. This is especially true of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, MMA and Muay Thai, all of which are rich in technically complex movements that require a high degree of unconscious competence to become proficient in.

One absolutely necessary mind-set, that we must have, is that “there is no such thing as failure, only feedback”. When learning something new we are going make mistakes as we pick up the skill. Rather than seeing these as failures to learn, develop the attitude that you just found a way, or used a way, that does not work.

Take this feedback of the incorrect method and analyze it to see what you did incorrectly. Ask yourself what can you learn from it, what is it teaching you?

Make the correction and perform the new method. If you can’t work it out for yourself, ask someone who can help.

The value of a good coach, in martial arts, is indispensable.

A coach is able to see what is happening from the 2nd and 3rd position point of view. A good coach has a wealth of learned knowledge and experience of those that have gone before and have, by trial and error, learned the best ways of doing something.

They have made the same mistakes that you are making now and overcome them. It is far quicker to learn from those that have gone before, than redo everything again.

That is a characteristic that has enabled humans to not only survive from our beginnings on the plains of Africa but to reach the incredible levels of technological development we have today.

Many of us, and in particular many high achievers, can be very hard on ourselves and, after a period of frustration in training and not making any progress, will eventually quit.

Overcoming Your Self beliefs of Inability to Learn Martial Arts.

It more often than not, depends on our resilience and stubbornness as to whether we continue to pursue the mastery of a discipline. There is no substitute for persistence and all champions and those who have achieved mastery demonstrate tireless persistence in achieving their goal of mastery.

Having a real passion for the discipline that you are training in, together with persistence, will increase your chances of success many fold.

During training, and in particular martial arts, all of us go through periods in which progress stalls; we make big advances at the beginnings of our learning but ultimately this slows and can go for a long time without seemingly make any progress. Then all of sudden we encounter another burst of progress.

Often what moves us is a sudden realization of the block that is stopping our progress or, we change our approach to how we train or perform something. This can result in a rapid jump forward. Again a good martial arts coach will make this process a lot quicker.

In summary, when we train and in particular, in martial arts training we will encounter periods of slow progress, technique acquisition difficulty and frustration.

Develop an attitude of looking at your mistakes as feedback.

Try a new approach to your training.

Ask your coach, who is an invaluable tool, for assistance.

Remember nothing can beat persistence and passion, in achieving a goal.

One extra little tip: Sometimes even a short rest can make all the difference.

Above enjoy your training and the pursuit of excellence in martial arts.

In addition don’t forget to check out my Online Thai Boxing Course at and my No Bullshit Guide To Street Fighting & Self Defense Ebook here