People choose to sign up for martial arts classes for various reasons. It might be an epic scene in a movie or a performance by a combat sports athlete that ignited your desire to learn martial arts. Others sign up to learn how to defend themselves or to enrich their lives with a healthy hobby that improves their fitness.
Regardless of your reason to learn martial arts, there are some hard truths you should know that many instructors are hesitant to tell new students due to several factors like not wanting to scare them away. This article will explore many of these truths.
Five Hard Truths You Should Know Before Signing Up For Martial Arts Classes
Here are some of the things you need to come to terms with if you decide to sign up for martial arts classes:
1) There Is No Perfect Technique
This is one of the first things you must come to terms with when you start training in martial arts. You’ve probably watched countless ads for martial arts and self-defense systems promising to teach you “deadly” techniques that always work like the infamous kick to the groin which was once very popular with women’s self-defense classes.
The problem with this type of thinking is that there’s no guarantee that you’ll connect with the target and groin shots aren’t as effective as most people think against adrenaline or drug-fueled attackers.
Martial arts like Krav Maga are particularly guilty of this since they focus on highly reactive techniques that require your attacker to behave in very specific ways. Real fights are very unpredictable, and attackers rarely attack the way you want them to.
The ideal mentality for martial artists is to always be open to learning new techniques and counters. A technique that currently works for you might not always work. You’ll be better off understanding the philosophies and reasoning behind each technique you learn, so you’re better able to improvise during competitions or self-defense scenarios.
2) There Is No Such Thing As A Complete Fighting System
Some martial arts are more effective than others, but there’s no such thing as a complete martial art that teaches you everything you need to know about fighting. For example, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is widely viewed as the most effective martial art for one-on-one self-defense situations, but it has some glaring weaknesses like not covering strikes and barely covering takedowns and throws.
Boxing and Muay Thai are effective striking systems, but the best boxers in the world would be easily submitted by a BJJ white belt with only six months of training under their belt if they’re taken down.
Mixed martial arts is arguably the most well-rounded martial art today, but it still has its weaknesses. MMA training makes you competent in all aspects of hand-to-hand combat, but you’re unlikely to master any aspect of fighting. For instance, the best strikers and grapplers in MMA typically develop their expertise learning styles that focus on striking and grappling respectively, not during their mixed martial arts training.
You’ll have to cross-train in different combat styles if you want to be a well-rounded martial artist. A BJJ player highly benefits from cross-training in Muay Thai or boxing, since these styles specialize in BJJ’s main weakness. Likewise, boxers and Muay Thai fighters should cross-train in grappling arts like BJJ and wrestling so they can defend themselves against grappling attacks in self-defense scenarios.
3) Perfect Instructors Don’t Exist
Some instructors are better than others, but there are no perfect instructors. Good instructors typically cross-train in several different combat styles, but that doesn’t make them all-knowing martial arts sages. Even the best instructors have holes in their techniques and training systems.
Like everyone else, instructors are also limited by their physical capabilities so they might be techniques they shy away from simply because they struggle with them. Instructors have shortcomings like everyone else, so don’t expect to learn everything there is to learn about martial arts from one person.
One of the benefits of training at big martial arts academies like Evolve is having multiple instructors for each martial art. This exposes you to different teaching styles, making you a well-rounded martial artist.
4) You Have To Be Dedicated To Enjoy The Benefits Of Training
Learning martial arts provides many physical, mental, and spiritual benefits. Martial arts like wrestling, BJJ, and Muay Thai burn up to 1,000 calories for every hour spent on the mat and give you a full body workout. This means your physique will be transformed when you start training martial arts consistently even if you don’t make any changes to your diet.
Learning a martial art also shows you the importance of mental attributes like discipline, perseverance, and mindfulness. The more you train, the better you become at all these things, which will also impact other aspects of your life. Training gives you a fast positive feedback loop that lets you know all your hard work at the dojo is paying off. This, in turn, makes you want to train even more.
While martial arts training brings many benefits, consistency is the key to enjoying them all. You can’t expect your body to be physically transformed by anything if you only train once every one or two weeks. Aim to train at least two times per week to get the most out of your training.
5) You’re Responsible For Your Growth As A Martial Artist
Choosing to learn a martial art is a brave decision, and it takes years to become a competent martial artist. You’ll need to be even more dedicated to cross-train in different martial arts, which we highly recommend.
You’ll need to be disciplined and dedicated to your training to stick to your training despite any distractions in your life. The key to mastering any martial art is to work towards making yourself the ultimate martial artist.
Bruce Lee said it best, “Research your own experience; absorb what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is essentially your own.”
That’s the right mentality for martial artists to have. What works for you might not work for someone else.
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