Keep Going – Part 1: Starting martial arts as an adult

Posted: November 11, 2014 in Articles
Tags: , , ,

I started training in the martial arts when I was twelve. Not the youngest you can start, but still young enough to have the luxury of single-minded ideological ignorance. I walked 5 miles round-trip to the dojo, punched the bag and lifted weights for three hours, and then went to class.

Beginning the martial arts as adults we are met with many more obstacles to training for success. The realization that our bodies are past peak, the priorities of job or family, or perhaps time conflicts with all the other stuff we need or like to do are just some of the reasons to lose motivation. When you’re young you can imagine being in the Olympics, or fighting the cage, or being a master. Mature minds have a hard time going there.

Though it’s easier to keep going once you’ve begun, it’s still hard to stay motivated at times.Though all of this sounds like a big bummer, the truth of the matter is that if you do keep going, keep practicing, you can reap amazing rewards. Many of us have seen the old master who can still do a split and fight off 5 attackers, who look more like they are 45 than 65 or 70.

Michael Jordan was asked why he thought he had come so far in his career as a basketball player and he commented that it was because he worked harder and longer than anyone else. No secret teaching. No magic pill. Consistent work towards a goal is the key. Towards this ultimate goal of mastery I’d like to list a few ideas, and would love to hear yours.

  • Be inspired. Look to those older masters. Do any of them attract you more than others for some reason? What is it that you admire about them? Ask them how they trained when they were your age, and what they do now.
  • Train every day. This may sound impossible, but if you train every day, even for 5 minutes on your own, you will form a habit, and habits are hard to break. After a while you just expect it to happen.
  • Stay inspired. Maybe you’ve been practicing the same moves for a while. Save some money every month to get to a seminar once in a while, or to save up for a new video in an art you have not tried before.
  • Save some money. You’ll need it to pay for classes and seminars, etc. One of the better ways I’ve found is to open a club account at my bank that automatically withdraws an amount every month. You’d be surprised at how fast it adds up.
  • Don’t downplay the self-training. Training on your own is one of the best ways for students of the martial arts to actually make the art their own. We can’t always follow someone else’s movements, or trust only in their observations. Every practitioner is different, and an art is never your own until you make it your own.
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