Top Strategies to Keep Training When You Feel Like Giving Up
As with any noble undertaking, your commitment is bound to be challenged when you sign up for martial arts. The newness wears off, the forms get harder, and day-to-day obligations tug away at all your time, leaving you to wonder where your priorities are. When you feel like giving up, try these strategies to power through your martial arts training wall.
Remind Yourself of the Benefits
You headed down the path of martial arts for a reason, or maybe several reasons. Don’t turn your back on them when the going gets tough! Take a moment to write down a list of reasons you started martial arts in the first place and visualize yourself reaching your goal.
Maybe you heard practicing karate would help you build confidence. You always wanted to do something that got you out of your comfort zone, and sparring with a partner definitely fit that mold. Or maybe you wanted to try Brazilian Jiu-jitsu because you wanted to get in great shape and running on a treadmill didn’t sound appealing.
No matter what reasons you had in the beginning, you know one thing: sticking with martial arts will help you grow in mind, body, and self-defense. You wanted to know how to protect yourself and your loved ones. You wanted to know what to do if you ever found yourself fighting for your life or for someone else’s life. Reminding yourself of where you could be if you keep at it.
Address Your Excuses
Sometimes knowing the benefits of training isn’t enough. Chances are, you’ll have an answer in response to every benefit that inspired you to take up martial arts. If you let yourself, you can justify quitting anything, particularly something as physically and mentally taxing as Muay Thai or aikido, and realizing this will help you think clearly about your decision.
One excuse you might have is not having enough time to train. Your schedule is busy, and something has to go to alleviate the pressure of your time constraints. Why not stop going to the dojo those five hours a week? You could use that time to do more studying, more cleaning, or more household projects. You must address this excuse as quickly as possible. Chances are you aren’t quitting martial arts to devote one hour an evening to wash dishes from 6:30 to 7:30; you simply want less on your plate. If you really want all those benefits you know you can have by sticking with it, get up a few minutes earlier every day and cut back on social media time. You can always find a way around time constraints.
Another excuse could be the cost of attending training sessions. This too is something you can find a way around. Many dojos are willing to work with you on monthly fees. Even if you don’t belong to one like this, cutting out that four dollar cup of coffee on the way to work every day probably will free up enough spending money to afford training. Unless you’re living out of your car and eating ramen every meal, chances are you can train if you want to badly enough.
Surround Yourself with Like-Minded People
You’ve heard it over and over: you become like the people you spend time with. If you don’t ever spend time with others who practice martial arts, your influences most likely won’t encourage you to keep training.
If you are the kind of person who keeps to yourself during practice, try branching out to forge new relationships with others who practice martial arts. Find accountability partners who can push you and encourage you when you’re hitting a rough spot in your training. This can extend to working out as well. If you are training seriously for something like mixed martial arts competitions, having several people with whom you train and work out can help you keep your commitments and draw out the best in you.
Try a Different Form
It could be that the martial art you’re in isn’t exactly what you thought it was. Perhaps the form you’re practicing isn’t as flexible as you wanted it to be, or you wanted to incorporate some techniques you saw in a different form.
Rather than being a problem, this may be a great way for you to hone in on the martial art that is right for you. There are many things to consider when trying a new martial art. If you were training in a soft form like aikido, you may want to consider trying something that involves a little more offense like Kenpo karate or Muay Thai. If you’ve been grinding out mixed martial arts workouts and love the thrill of competition but hate getting hit in the face over and over, try switching to something like taekwondo, where you can still compete in tournaments but with less wear and tear.
If forms themselves are beginning to seem weary, you can make a more drastic change such as switching from kung fu to krav maga (which has no forms) or even giving kickboxing a try. Simple switch-ups like this may reignite your passion for martial arts more than grinding through a form you don’t enjoy.
Take Private Lessons
You might be giving it your all and really enjoying martial arts, but you can’t seem to keep up with the class. If it takes you longer than everyone else to learn the moves, taking private lessons may be for you, especially if you are just starting out. Private lessons enable you to dig deeper under the instruction of a professional, who can guide you and even spar with you more efficiently than another classmate.
Private lessons will also give you the opportunity to express your concerns about martial arts if you are still on the fence about continuing your training. A professional can guide you in the right direction for changing forms or for giving you training tips and workout advice.
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