When people begin their journey in the Martial Art world, they often feel a sense of frustration and helplessness – it’s my guess that most of the ones who keep going are the ones who recognize that others are feeling the same way – and besides, they look around and see proof that others have acquired real and demonstrable skills and therefore it might only be a matter of time before they too will acquire these skills.
I have had a lot of students over the years, ask for advice and direction on how they should proceed in the first years of their training … and although everyone develops slightly differently (there is no specific cookie-cutter approach), there is a way to look at it that makes sense and seems to help a little…
How do we start – the answer is easy: one thing at a time. We choose something that we think is attainable (it may be a kick, punch, pattern … whatever) and we focus on getting it and perfecting it.
A simple analogy I sometimes use is to liken the start to being dropped onto a world that is entirely covered by water – you start treading water, learning to float until off on the horizon an island emerges. You make your way to the island – and once there, you are much, much better off – after a while, the island becomes familiar ground.
Eventually, other islands appear, some bigger than others, each offering unique opportunities. As we become more familiar with other islands, and we begin to develop the skill to get from one to the next, the world becomes a much more inhabitable place. Eventually, much of the water becomes replaced by familiar ground – although we may find ourselves in deep water from time to time, we are never that far from dry land.
Martial Arts are just like this – it takes time, it takes effort but eventually you mostly find yourself inhabiting familiar ground. So for those starting outon their Martial arts journey – although you might be treading water right now – it won’t be long before you spot your very first island on the horizon. Everyone starts this way – you are not alone.
See you in class.