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  • Writer's pictureJackie Bradbury

The Hump

When folks are new to martial arts training, they struggle with so many issues.

They usually feel really clumsy and unsure of how to move.

They're really afraid of hurting themselves and other people.

They're also really aware of, and afraid of, looking like a complete idiot while training.

They're afraid that people will bully them or make fun of them because they haven't mastered the skills yet.

They see all those little details you have to be mindful of and think they'll never, ever be able to do all of that at the same time.

They believe it's too much to learn for someone like them (often, they believe they aren't as smart as the people around them).

They see their instructors and senior students and newbies think to themselves, "They're so graceful, they're so physically and mentally competent, they're so smart, they're so fast, they're so good at this".

Well, guess what, newbie?

Almost all of the people that you think are such great martial artists were YOU, once.

We're just past The Hump.

That is, we've trained enough to get to the point where we don't have to think as hard about all the little details in training, and we have some confidence in not only what we've learned, but about our ability to learn more.

We did footwork drills over and over and over again, to move smoothly and to learn how to control our distance without having to give our full attention to it.

We've practiced over and over all those little details in the drills we've been given by our instructors and seniors, so that we don't have to think anymore, we can just do.

We don't have to decide what we're going to do in response to a situation, we've trained enough so that we can recognize what's happening and a response we've learned is just there, ready to execute.

We've absolutely had times where we looked dumb or silly, but we discovered it's not the end of the world, nobody is going to make you feel bad about it. Eventually, it'll become a funny story you'll tell others versus something to fear.

As for people bullying or hazing you for being new... real life isn't the Cobra Kai dojo, I promise. If someone does that to you, they're being a scumbag and it's not normal and you should train elsewhere. Do not give your time and money to jerks!`

The trick to getting past the Hump is two things:

1) Trust your instructors when they tell you that you can learn this.


2) Keep practicing, especially out of class. The more you practice the faster you'll get past the Hump.

That's it. That's the way you get better and more confident.

That's literally how most of us that you think are so great got that way.

Everybody really knows the 2nd point above, but perhaps the 1st one is the more important point.

Trust your instructors when they tell you that you can do this.

Very, very few of us are natural-born martial artists, we all got here with work and trust in our teachers.

You can, too.

The Hump isn't a huge mountain, like it seems when you're new.

It's just a speed bump.

Once you get past it, you'll be able to put the pedal to the medal and GO!

How do students know they're past the Hump? Do you have any funny "when I was a newbie" stories? Let us know in the comments!

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