At some point during your training, you might hit a bump in the road - you might reach Black Belt and think there’s nowhere left to go; you might hit a wall mid-grade and feel like you can’t improve further; or you might just get a bit bored with your training and feel like you don’t want to go on.
Here are some tips on how to get over the bump and become the martial artist you want to be:
Talk to your Instructor
Your Instructor has been there and done it all. You know this because they’ve reached the level you are striving for, so in their own training at least they have hit & driven through many walls. They’ve probably also helped many other students through similar hurdles. Tell them about the problems you are having with training. A good Instructor won’t hold it against you or take it personally - they will help you through and design bespoke training to help reinvigorate you.
Take a break
Take a few weeks off. Hit the gym instead, go abroad or just spend a few weeks at home in front of the TV. Let your body and your mind reset, so when you do restart you’ll hopefully feel fresh and ready to train harder than ever.
Train even harder through it
If you’re particularly strong willed, you can get through your lack of motivation by training even harder. Go more times a week to the gym or to class. You’ll see improvements faster, which might help elevate your motivation worries.
Be inspired by your heroes
Who has inspired you? Which person has led a life that you wish you had? Learn their journey. Read their books, watch their films, follow them on social media, find videos of them – learn what drove them to achieve the greatness you admire. Once you’ve learnt what drives them, and what methods they use to achieve what they’ve achieved, use that to drive you on.
It might be that you’re training in the wrong martial art and it takes a strong person to admit that the time & dedication they’ve put in to something wasn’t put in the right place. There’s nothing wrong with admitting this – the key is to realise this and put your energy into the right thing. So if this is you, go out and find what you do want to do. Try as many new martial arts as you can and find one that excites you again. Just be careful that the cycle does not repeat itself.
Create new goals
When going through the ranks, goals are easy to see – usually a new belt and attached to that new belt are techniques to learn & improve.
New goals when not a Black Belt could be to focus on your weakest area (kicking, wrist grips, fitness etc) or to learn how to beat that one person in class that you can never win against when sparring.
Once you’ve reached Black Belt, this becomes a little harder - simply ‘get better’ is a tough motivator when you’re good already. You’ll have new grades to achieve, and you’ll still want to get one over your fellow students in sparring, but you’ll need to be smarter to find the goals to suit you.
Hopefully, you'll never need any of these, but you never know...