Martial arts is not just a physical activity, it's a way of life. From the community to the discipline, it offers countless benefits for both mind and body. But how can you ensure that your journey as a martial artist is fulfilling and long-lasting?
Here are 3 essential tips to help you become a lifelong practitioner:
1. Follow Your Passion
The first step towards becoming a lifelong martial arts practitioner is to do the art that you truly love. Don't let anyone else dictate your path or force you into a certain style. Whether it's Karate, Jiu-Jitsu, Taekwondo or any other form, choose what resonates with you and sparks your passion. When you do something out of love and not just obligation, it becomes a part of who you are.
With martial arts comes a belt system. This hierarchical structure can sometimes make us feel like we have to follow a certain path or style to advance. But the beauty of martial arts is that it's not just about the belts, it's about personal growth and self-discovery. So don't be afraid to stray from the norm and find your own unique journey within your chosen art.
The blue belt blues are a common phenomenon in the martial arts community. This is the point where students often feel stuck or lose motivation because they have achieved a certain level and don't see much progress. But remember, belts are just symbols of your journey and not the ultimate goal. Keep challenging yourself, set new goals, and always strive for improvement.
This requires some soul-searching and being honest with yourself. What do you truly want to achieve in martial arts? Is it to become a black belt or is it to improve your self-defense skills? Do you want to compete at a high level or do you want to use martial arts as a form of fitness? Knowing your why will keep you motivated and focused on your personal goals, rather than comparing yourself to others.
You may have the potential to become a world-striking champion but if your joy and passion belong on the BJJ mats, then that's where you should excel. Remember, martial arts can be difficult and those who find passion will be the most successful. So don't get caught up in chasing titles or trying to fit into a specific mold. Follow your heart and embrace your unique journey.
2. Diversify Your Training
At times, you'll find yourself getting bored of your current style and desire something new. Many martial arts relate to each other in some way, so learning new techniques and approaches can enhance your overall understanding of martial arts.
For example, I started with Muay Thai and the clinch work and footwork greatly improved my understanding of takedowns and grappling in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Both utilize the concept of controlling the crown of the head and hips to manipulate your opponent's balance.
Another example can be dabbling in recovery techniques like yoga or mobility training. These can help with injury prevention and improve your overall performance in martial arts. By taking some days to try different systems designed to strengthen and prevent injuries, you are on your way to achieving longevity in Brazilian jiu-jitsu or any other martial art.
Additionally, cross-training with different partners can also be beneficial. Different body types and skill levels will challenge you in different ways, helping to expose your weaknesses and improve upon them. With varying intensity and mixing of different styles, cross-training can also keep your training exciting and fun.
Martial arts is not just about physical training, it's also about building a strong community. Finding a supportive group of training partners can make all the difference in your martial arts journey. They will push you to be better, provide valuable feedback and support you through both the highs and lows.
Additionally, having a mentor or coach who truly cares about your progress and well-being can greatly impact your development as a martial artist. They can offer guidance, share their knowledge and experience, and push you beyond your limits.
Many of us continue training because we understand and support each other like a family. By surrounding yourself with positive and supportive individuals, you will not only improve your skills but also develop strong bonds and friendships.
Finally, to keep your martial arts journey exciting is by attend workshops, seminars, or retreats. This allows you to learn from different instructors and styles, as well as meet new people in the martial arts community.
It can also give you a fresh perspective on your own training and help you break out of any ruts or plateaus. These events also offer opportunities for networking and making new connections, further enriching your martial arts experience.
4. Bonus Tip (White Belt Mentality and Becoming A Mentor)
As you progress in your martial arts journey, it is important to maintain a sense of wonder. The same excitement as a day 1 white belt should be carried through your entire training. This mindset allows you to stay open-minded and constantly learn and grow, regardless of rank or experience. It also helps prevent complacency and keeps you motivated to continue improving.
Everyone who walks onto the mats may know something that you don't, and by maintaining a white belt mentality, you will always be willing to listen and learn from others.
Giving back to the martial arts community is another important aspect of growth as a martial artist. Becoming a mentor not only benefits others but also yourself.
Teaching others forces a new challenge as you have to break down techniques and concepts in a way that others can understand. It also allows you to revisit the basics and refine your own skills.
As a final note, being a mentor allows you to pass on the knowledge and wisdom that has been passed down to you, contributing to the preservation of martial arts traditions. This legacy helps you become a lifelong martial artist because those who learn from you can help represent you and your training long after you have retired from actively practicing.
Of course, this requires a level of mastery but contributing to the growth and development of others is a rewarding experience that goes beyond just personal gain.
5. Comment Below
Is there anything that you would add to this list? When it comes to staying motivated and having the mindset for longevity in BJJ or any martial arts, it's important to constantly evaluate and adjust your approach. Share any tips or experiences below!
A special thank you to Robert Swan (@swan6571 on Instragram) for the advice! Feel free to connect with us @submission.shark