Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The World's Worst (and Best) Martial Artist - is YOU

Ever have a session when you're training in the martial arts and everything clicks?  You're able to do what you want to do relatively easily, you're engaged and your mind is moving a mile a minute, and no matter what you're asked to do, you just get it?  You end the session energized and happy and feeling like you're really making a lot of progress?  You just might be the best one in the room!  You feel like the World's Best Martial Artist.

How about a session where it's the exact opposite?  Where no matter how hard you try, you can't get your head in the game, everything is sloppy and uncoordinated, and you can't quite "get" what's going on?  Nothing you do goes right! By the end of the session you're wiped out and discouraged and want to quit this and do something you can be successful at.  You're the World's Worst Martial Artist.

Heck, I've had periods where I oscillated between one extreme to the other over the period of 48 hours (at martial arts camps, usually).  If every single one of you reading this isn't nodding your head to both extremes, you've not been training very long, or you've got memory problems.

Most of the time, though, our training experience falls somewhere in the middle.  You're not awesomesauce, but you don't totally stink up the joint either.  This means our training really is just a bell curve:

It's not unusual to have a string of training sessions on one side of the bell curve or the other over a period of time.  When you're closer to the World's Best Martial Artist side, you're motivated to do extra practice and it's a lot of fun.  You feel creative and strong and you can take on anything.  You start to think you've finally got this stuff mastered.

But man, slogging through a period where you're the World's Worst Martial Artist sucks.

That's when the going gets really hard.  It's no fun at all.  It becomes work.

But here's the thing:  All things we do for any period of time is like this.  Marriages are like this.  Jobs are like this.  Other skills we develop - learning to play a musical instrument, playing games or sports, blogging... everything worthwhile has periods where it's really fun and easy, and periods when it's really awful and hard to keep going.  It's not unique to martial arts training.

Just like we have to do in other aspects of our lives, we have to keep in mind that neither extreme period will last.  We won't be a martial arts rock star forever, so we can't get cocky or lazy about it. We won't stink up the joint forever, either, so we have to keep working until we get through this bad period.

Everything - the very good times, and the very bad times - will eventually pass. Don't get too wrapped up in either.

So tell me about a time where you spent some time on either end of our bell curve.  Any great stories of what you accomplished when you were the World's Best Martial Artist?  How did you stay focused and motivated when you were the World's Worst Martial Artist?  Let me know in the comments!