Training in the martial arts can be a serious business.
- Physical Fitness
- Personal Discipline
- Improved Concentration
- Self Defence
Listing the most common reasons why adults and children join or study a martial art, they all appear to be serious. Despite all the rewards that they bring, training in the martial arts can be difficult, demanding, frustrating and even painful. The rewards themselves are bestowed so incrementally that they are often unnoticed by the practitioner and this can have a detrimental effect on motivation.
The crux of the matter is that if we aren’t enjoying the training then it is hard to stay motivated to continue. The destination will not be reached if the route isn’t travelled, and the act of travelling itself has to be fun. It really is the journey and not the destination that is important.
Skill development requires repetition. It’s easy for that to become routine and boring and I am sure that like many other instructors I have lost students in the past because I failed to utilise enough variety to disguise that repetition in ways that maintained the sense of excitement and fun.
We expect training to stretch us, to be demanding, to be tiring. Even when it is all those things we should also normally expect to leave training with a smile on our face, but not the smile of someone who feels pleased through the self -denial of a diet or having eaten something ‘healthy’ rather than a treat they wanted. We should leave with the smile of a person that has had fun, because no matter how worthy the ‘end goals’ it is the enjoyment of a class that will draw us back to each new lesson and ensure our progress.
There are many different approaches that can help to keep each lesson fresh and fun:
- training at different speeds
- trying different combinations
- setting different challenges
- playing stimulus games to improve tactile, visual or auditory response time
- applying techniques in different ways
- pairing with different people
- mixing up the order of the class
- identifying and reinforcing strengths.
There are many reasons why I train and teach, there are SMART goals that I have set myself and my students, but the thing that draws me to each class is that I want to enjoy myself and have fun.
The destination keeps changing, but I’m here for the fun of the journey.