Black Belt

7 Habits of Highly Successful Martial Artists

Regardless of how old you are or what rank you have acquired in your training, most martial arts students share a common goal... to be the best they can be. Sure, you may never be able to leap five feet in the air, flip, and accurately side-kick your target and land in a full split. But, in reality, that does not matter. What does matter is that you are striving toward your personal potential. To get there, follow the seven habits of highly successful students.

Habit One - Be There Getting to class is important not only to continue your learning but also to provide your body with the routine of physically and mentally utilizing your knowledge. Experts have determined that two classes per week is optimal for beginners and lower intermediate students, while higher intermediate and advanced students may benefit from three or more classes.

Habit Two – Practice Review at home what you learn in class is critical to enabling you to master your skills. Home practice makes your class experience much more beneficial and comfortable. Practice anything new you learn in class for five to ten minutes as soon as you get home that day. This ensures that you practice your new material properly while it is still fresh in your mind.

Habit Three - Eat Right You are what you eat. Eat healthfully and your body will pay dividends when you challenge yourself mentally as well as physically. Good nutrition is recognized as a necessity for peak performance. And it's never too late to make nutrition a priority, so forget what may have happened over the holidays!!

Habit Four - Stretch Daily Muscles that are stretched routinely become more flexible. Flexible muscles respond stronger and faster which allows your body to perform your martial arts techniques with a "superman" quality. An added benefit is an increased metabolism... and we can all use that, right? (Note: warm up your muscles before stretching.)

Habit Five – Meditate Yes, Meditate. Now you don't have to lull yourself in to a trance. Just take five to ten minutes a day by yourself; close your eyes and relax. Those precious few minutes right before you pass out in bed each night don't count. Challenge yourself to budget additional time each day. Take a few of those minutes and visualize yourself performing martial arts techniques that are hard and challenging. Your mind can be a great asset when it comes time to perform these techniques live.

Habit Six – Teach Help out a fellow student or teach yourself. The teaching process actually "hard codes" information into your brain and helps you earn better. In fact, this is a great practicing strategy. Stand in front of a mirror and verbally teach yourself how to perform a technique. While speaking out loud, make necessary corrections and positively reinforce yourself. It may sound silly, but it works!

Habit Seven - Set Goals Have you officially set Black Belt as your goal yet? Have you set a specific time-line to achieve that goal? Have you set a goal for your next rank? Would you like to teach some day or have your own school? What are your goals? A goal set is a goal already half completed.

Follow these seven habits of highly successful martial artists and you'll achieve your martial arts potential... and you may even surprise yourself at what your potential actually is.

By Joseph Galea