<Joker's Training Journal: Preliminaries: Dos and Dont's

Dos and Don'ts

This is a list (and commentary) of common dos and dont's for any martial arts experience.

Be consistent
When you join a martial arts group, be it a school, academy, club or team, you have made a commitment. So make the practices or classes that you are supposed to, often they are only two or three times a week for maybe two hours. Consistency is the only, guaranteed way of getting better. Unless you are the president, a trauma surgeon, or single parent with no familial support, there is no way you cannot have enough time to go train for a few hours per week (exercise will clear your mind!). This is the place you have to be every week at a certain time, rain, shine, in good health or bad (unless you have something contagious -- in that case stay away). It is not something you cannot do because you are not feeling 100%, your significant other won't let you, or if (insert poor excuse here). Put in consistent practices, your training partners and instructors should be freaking out if you are not in class.

Relax your state of mind
Relax, this is the only word you need to succeed in martial arts, self-defense, and combat sports. You are supposed to lose in class, you are supposed get beaten, you are supposed to get corrected by your instructor. Relax it is no big deal to lose, get beaten, or be wrong. Accept the fact that as a novice you suck and it is OK (if you could beat every guy in class, disarm multiple knife wielding thugs, or KO the UFC champion -- what would the point of training?). If you relax your mind, your senses and body will follow -- you will be able to learn more, be able to read your partners/opponents, and be able to respond faster. If you get caught in a position that panicks you decided if you are about to get hurt (in which case yell or tap) or if you take breath and count to ten you can get out of it. Your partners swing at you like he's trying to take your head off? Good that his job, relax and rally your offensive and defensive tools.

Control your limbs and impulses
Part of your brain, the basal ganglia, is responsible for editing down your movements, to keep them exact and precise. Most people when trying new motor skills seem to over correct and are almost spastic. Only someone who has properly and repeatedly practiced a move does it with maximum efficiency and minimal strength. Thus, the newbie assumes that because their instructor or the senior students can perform technique smoothly, quickly and safely, they can, too. Despite the fact they are all over the place. So control yourself and your impulses, if you are new to something try it slowly, speed comes with repetition. Untrained impulses are usually wrong (except flinching). For example, most people when they fall, reach for the ground often breaking a bone in their arm or spraining wrist, elbow, or shoulder. However, if you train your falls you learn to distribute your weight over the maximal surface area and reduce the potential for injury. Train your limbs and learn new, useful, impulses.

Don't try to be an expert
Oddly the most legitimate bad @$$es are the most humble people you'll ever meet. However, lots of lesser skilled wannabe martial artists become vocal experts about everything (what this says about this website who knows 8-D). They are ready to explain things to their instructor and teach their classmates. The measure of a trully skilled fighter is not what comes out of their mouth, it is what they look like and do in the ring or on the mat. Its OK if your old school did something one way or you saw a different variation in a magazine, you don't have to tell everyone, every time, how the current technique is done wrong and your way is right.

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