Nothing interferes with your training as a martial artist like an uncontrolled ego. While martial artists tend to be very confident, most do not have enormous egos. Most people can be great at any martial art if they take the time to learn and are dedicated to their training. Experienced martial artists understand this well. They don’t think they’re better than anyone simply because they have taken the time to learn some effective fighting techniques.
Having an uncontrolled ego starts to interfere with your martial arts training even before you sign up for classes. Why bother signing up for martial art classes when you’ve already convinced yourself that you’re the best fighter on the planet because you grew up watching action movies?
Your ego will prevent you from progressing as fast as possible and might make you a pariah in the gym. No one wants to train with the egotistical jerk who is more concerned about proving they’re the best fighter in the gym than the safety of their training partners.
The best thing you can do for your martial arts journey is to let go of your ego and replace it with confidence instead. Focus on becoming the best martial artist you can be when you train, not meaningless victories at the dojo.
Reasons To Leave Your Ego At The Door When Training Martial Arts
Ready to find out why martial arts instructors often caution their students to keep their egos in check? Let’s jump right into our list:
1) It Develops The Wrong Mindset For Learning Martial Arts
The best martial artists aren’t know-it-alls. They are typically humble people with a strong desire to learn and grow. That’s the right approach to have when training. You need to understand why you’re in the gym in the first place: to learn from better martial artists than you.
Don’t go to the gym trying to prove a point. You’ll get humbled and might develop a reputation as a bad training partner. Learning should always be your top priority when training, not winning every drill or sparring session.
Spend less time talking and more time listening to your instructors and more advanced students at the gym. Don’t let your ego get the best of you and prevent you from learning valuable lessons from those around you. For example, instead of feeling upset that someone got the best of you during a sparring session, humble yourself and ask them to teach you any techniques they used that were effective against you.
2) It Limits Your Growth As A Martial Artist
Egotistical people hate losing and often go out of their way to avoid losing at all costs. That will significantly impact your martial arts training since you don’t become a good martial artist by avoiding people who are capable of pushing you.
For example, an egotistical person might carefully select who they spar with at the gym, so they don’t lose any sparring matches. While that might temporarily satisfy their egos, it will hinder their growth as martial artists.
Defeating less skilled training partners isn’t what makes you grow as a martial artist. Going against better-skilled training partners pushes you to tighten up your techniques and improve your defense. The old saying, ‘iron sharpens iron,’ comes to mind here. You must train with martial artists who are better than you to take your game to the next level. You’ll only get that far if you spar with people who barely know what they’re doing.
3) Prevents You From Seeing Your Weaknesses
You need to be self-aware and honest with yourself to perform at your best as a martial artist. Deluding yourself about your capabilities doesn’t do you any favors. One of the most significant weaknesses you can develop as a martial artist is not being able to evaluate yourself honestly. It’s something that affects even martial artists at the highest levels.
An easy example of this in real life would be the rivalry between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier. McGregor won the first fight via first-round knockout, and Poirier was devastated by the loss. However, he didn’t make any excuses and said there were things he had to work on to be able to compete with the likes of McGregor.
Poirier got his revenge during their rematch as a 5:1 underdog, scoring a TKO during the second round of their UFC 257 encounter. McGregor didn’t take the loss well and came up with excuses for why things went down the way they did. It wasn’t much of a surprise for seasoned martial artists who followed both men to see Poirier emerge victorious during their rubber match. Poirier reflected on the reasons he lost the first fight honestly, while McGregor couldn’t accept the reality that Poirier was simply the better fighter that night. Things could have gone down differently during the rubber match if McGregor had controlled his ego after the loss to Poirier.
4) Makes You A Dangerous Training Partner
Build a reputation as someone with an ego, and your training partners might be reluctant to work with you. Would you want to train with someone who shows no concern for your safety because they’re so focused on winning?
Some fighters are so determined to win they don’t even realize they are putting themselves and others at risk. These are the type of people who crank submissions hard without giving training partners a chance to tap out.
Your ego will earn you a negative reputation in the gym, and other students might start to avoid you. As a result, you don’t get as much quality sparring time as others in the gym do. Keep it up, and you might be banned from the gym.
5) Leads To Poor Performance During Competitions
A big ego might prevent you from training correctly before competitions. You might think you don’t have to train as hard since you already believe you’re better than the competition. It’s only a matter of time before people who think like this get humbled.
An excellent example of this happening in real life would be Mike Tyson‘s loss to Buster Douglas. Tyson was the biggest name in boxing at the time, and he admittedly spent more time partying than training leading up to the fight. Things got so bad even the press started talking about how out of shape he looked at press conferences. An open workout was canceled because Tyson looked so out of shape.
When you factor all these things in, it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise Douglas handed Tyson his first loss inside the ring. Don’t let your ego do that to you.
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