With the new year comes all the New Years resolutions. So in honour of all the “resolutionists” here’s a short article with 5 tips for martial arts beginners.
Starting martial arts can be quiet daunting, especially for someone with no experience in it. The following are 5 tips for beginners (and even seasoned veterans) to get the most out of their training and enjoy the experience.
Find a good school.
By good I mean one that you feel comfortable at with the people and facilities. This may mean you might have to try a class at a few different places till you find the right one. You could find an instructor and team with tonnes of accolades behind them but if their teaching style and training methods don’t suit you and the atmosphere of the place isn’t conducive to your learning, then maybe it’s just not the right place for you.
Also one of the most rewarding things I get out of the gym I train at, isn’t just the top level training I get, but the camaraderie shared amongst my training partners. When you train with guys day in, day out and shed sweat, blood and maybe a few tears with each other then you become like family. Nothing can beat it and only those that have experienced could relate.
Buy your own equipment.
Once you’ve been training a while and you want to take it seriously, it’s best to get your own equipment. Most gyms will sell equipment on the premises and buying equipment from them helps support your club but also, and most importantly when you buy equipment IT’S YOURS. Meaning you don’t have to share sweat (or nasty skin infections) with anybody.
Stick to basics.
I found that when a lot of people start they want to learn everything, as much as they can. From tricky transitions to leglocks and rubber guard. They want to learn all the fancy stuff without having mastered the basics. The basics are everything, the foundation of the building that is your martial arts training. Without a strong foundation the building will collapse. So learn your basics and practice them till you think you’ve mastered them, then practice them some more.
No matter how stupid or obvious they might sound, always ask questions, especially if you’re not 100% clear on something. Example: even if you do understand a technique it’s always good to ask something about the details of it e.g. hand grip, body weight or positioning. Each person has their own nuances to performing and teaching the same technique so by asking your instructors or training partners you’re getting a few different variations on the same move and you can use the one that suits you the most. The more you ask, the more you learn.
And finally…. Be consistent.
As with learning anything new, there’s usually a grace period between learning (theory) and things making sense/seeing the pay off in live rolling/sparring (practical). Don’t be disheartened if you feel like you’re not making improvements. Depending on how often you train, it can take a few months to start feeling like you’re getting the hang of things. Even the most seasoned martial artists are learning something new each day. It might not be a whole new technique or move but maybe something in the details about it that helps refine it.
I’ve known people with more natural talent and athletic ability than myself, but most of them don’t train now and after reaching a certain level or having a few setbacks (injuries, losing fights) they drop off the radar and stop training. The only reason I’ve gotten so “good” is because I’ve put in the work over the years through the good days and bad. Consistency is the key to improvement.
Finally, enjoy the journey.