Martial Arts are hard, and require a lot of effort. To successfully master a martial art, to become proficient in all the various moves and blocks, to consider throws, punches and footwork takes a lot of hard work, endless practice, and discipline. Above all, you need dedication and staying power in abundance. The moves themselves can be simple, or complicated. The various moves can also be part of a combination of move and counter strike, or nimble footwork and a throw at the same time. It is not easy to master such combinations.
There will be that point where the student really just does not get it. There will be that time, similar to the “wall” that long distance runners often have, where the student cannot perform. And all the different techniques overwhelm him, all the offensive and defensive combinations, and the mixture of theory, philosophy, and body movements to rival a gymnast.
After getting it wrong so many times, and ending up a heap on the mats as opposed to victorious. Even the toughest of student will feel a great knock to their confidence, feel inadequate in their ability, and question their commitment to the martial art in question.
All of that can happen to any student, at any level, at any time. Although taking up any marital art is eminently worthwhile, physically and mentally stimulating – it is also often tough. Many students often feel like quitting when they reach that stage. Many students will feel demoralised and question their desire to carry on. Such a reaction to adversity is only human and a natural instinct.
If that point, they reach that “block”, the first thing to realise is no one is judging the unfortunate student. After all, all martial artists have been there; all martial artists have had to continue through demanding and endless training.
Secondly, relax. Take a rest – take a breather. Do not allow the mind to dwell upon the moment, or the particular martial arts “block”. If the mind dwells on that, it will make the issue worse, and will hinder and stress the student further. As such, relaxing and taking the mind off things can help. A clear mind can often mean a resolute mind, determined to overcome the particular issue or obstacle devoid of any negative thinking.
Above all, ask for help and support to overcome whatever the particular difficulty is. At most (if nor all) martial arts clubs, everyone, from the novice to the black belt, from fellow students to instructors, will be encouraging. Everyone there wants each other to succeed, and to persevere and develop as a martial artist. Do not be afraid to ask for help and support, and to seek the guidance and assistance of colleagues and instructors.
Maybe a fellow student has fully grasped aspects of the martial art which you have not; they might be able to help the struggling student out. Further, the instructors will all be martial artists of long standing and have great experience both in martial arts abut also in training, teaching and developing their students. Trust the instructors, and listen to them as they are there to help. Even though they force the hapless students through another new and painful combination of throws it hardly feels like it!
Even if they need to repeat the particular combination of movements and techniques several hundred times – if after that patience and perseverance, the struggling student finally “gets it”, finally overcomes the block – and finally is able to develop and shine in their martial arts – then all the effort and time taken by all concerned will absolutely have been worthwhile
Aside from mental clarity and asking for assistance, the mindset of the student is often a big factor in overcoming such a block. The willpower, determination and approach of the student can be just as powerful as ability and repeated training in overcoming a struggle with martial arts.
The students, although struggling and demoralised, must find within them the determination to carry on, the mental willpower to overcome, and the mindset of not wanting to be defeated by the martial art they are training in. The students have to ask themselves how much they want to master the martial art and how far they are willing to go to achieve that. They must remain calm and undefeated in the face of adversity.
It takes a lot of willpower and courage to return to the mats after a series of setbacks in training. However, with the right mindset, training, encouragement from those around, and a sheer desire to succeed – their martial arts journey will progress. After overcoming that particular block – whatever the challenges are ahead, they will be met with increased resolve and determination. As such, the student will have the increasing confidence to master their chosen martial art.
Further, the sense of satisfaction, achievement and pride will be unmatched. It is that dedication and discipline that will help to overcome that “block”. They will in turn develop skill and confidence, both on and off the mats.
In time and in turn, that struggling student will be the one assisting yet another struggling student. And they will help them through the same blocks and issues. Of such is the nature, and the challenge, of martial arts.