Maximum Mindset For Your Martial Arts Training!

Maximum Mindset For Your Martial Arts Training!
03 Jun 2015

Ever get frustrated with your progress in your martial arts training? Want to get better…faster? Often times the problem isn’t the training, it is the mindset of training. After 29 years in martial arts and 15 years of teaching; one of the most common statements I hear from people is that they are having a hard time “getting it.” Meaning they are busting their behings and still not able to follow the lesson. Let me give you some tips to truly MAXIMIZE your training time!

Learning vs. Sparring: We all know “that guy.” Hell, you might just be “that guy!” They guy who moves at 300 mph and can’t seem to anything right. Most people kind of avoid training with him because there is no self control, just spaz! The instructor says do something at 10%, or to take your time…and that guy just goes off the handle. Understand that when you are “Learning” you have to SLOW DOWN, and understand what is going on with the lesson as well as with yourself. Problem is that it seems slow and not intense enough, it’s not supposed to be intense, it’s LEARNING! The focus with learning should be to truly be aware of the small things, and making sure that you are moving with precision. Intensity typically brings a degradation of precision, therefore slowing down your learning curve. Not everything needs to be a sparring match, take your time…don’t compete. There will be an opportunity to spar once you “get it.”

Technique vs Application: This goes hand in hand with the first tip. There always seems to ba rush to “apply what you learned.” But did you really “learn” anything yet? Over the past few years I’ve been spending a lot of personal time with my martial arts friends, and instructors. We share information and I always notice how the good ones always emphasize learning the techniques properly before trying to spar or fight with them. And it makes sense..we should be spending hours on perfecting something so we can apply it for fraction of second. It only increases the odds of success! Again, if all you do is spar, spar, spaz…then you’re progress is null and void. Have the mental discipline to truly perfect what you are doing.

Notes on Notes: One of the greatest joys I get from teaching is to watch my students take notes, ask questions, and then take more notes! Martial arts training isn’t an activity, it’s an education. Do you go thru college without taking notes? And simply taking notes isn’t enough…we short hand things to keep up with class. The secret here is to revisit the notes, study, and re-write them. It helps us truly absorb the information and visualize what we wrote. Having that visualization repeatedly is just as important as physically practicing technique. If you’re not taking’re not learning.

Mirror Mirror On The Wall: For decades fighters from all types of disciplines including boxing, Muay Thai, Savate, K-1 Kickboxing, Tae Kwon Do, Karate, and others have all utilized the mirror to perfect their mechanics. Shadow boxing, forms, footwork, punches, kicks, head movement amongst other can all be developed by using a mirror. They simply don’t lie! A good mirror will tell you the truth about what you’re actually doing vs what you think you’re doing. And if you have good notes, you will know what to correct and what is already correct. Here in 2014, someone invented this all new device called a video camera! So if you want to one-up the mirror, why not record yourself moving and review it? Or take it to your instructor and ask them to take a look? Having the third party perspective an be one of the greatest tools in your toolbox. Set that fancy phone up on a counter and get moving. I thank Sifu Roy Harris for constantly reminding me to use a video camera! It became my go-to training tool.

Get Off The Mats: Another gem that I got from Sifu Roy Harris is this…he once said to me that if you want real growth it is not about making it to class, it is about the time I spend outside of class perfecting my game. That means reviewing notes, using a mirror or camera to practice in front of, calling a class mate and asking them to train on an off night. Just like college, spend an hour in class learning, then 2-3 hours training outside of class. It becomes apparent for me when I teach something in class, and I by the next class I see a few people who show great improvement and those who don’t. When I ask the improvement people what they did, they always say the same thing…”I was working on it at home.”

Use these 5 tips wisely, and I guarantee that you will Maximize your efforts. ignore them, and enjoy the frustrations that are awaiting you. It truly is that simple. I hope this helps you understand the pitfalls in training, and inspires you to take your studies to the next level. Whether you’re a Jiu Jitsu practitioner, Jeet Kune Do, Filipino Kali, or whatever art your study…the principles of being a good student are always the same.

Until Next Time,

Be Safe, Be Well, and Get Xtreme!

Nik Farooqui



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