Why Do You Keep Training?

Why Do You Keep Training Martial Arts_

Starting vs Continuing Martial Arts

Why Do You Keep Training?

I’ll tell you why I started. I made up my mind during the police academy. They encouraged us to train in martial arts, and I took that to heart. Policing in an active (hint: dangerous) city is no small feat, and I wanted to be as prepared as possible. Especially being smaller than a lot of other officers, I knew I could not rely on my physical strength.

I also always had a small desire to try martial arts since I was little. Self defense and necessity were my primary reasons in starting martial arts.

In a 2016 study, 217 Krav Maga practitioners and 63 Wing Chun practitioners were surveyed as to why they started their respective disciplines. Self-defense was the number one reason. 

The actual participation motives, or why practitioners continued in martial arts, however, were different. In this particular study, fitness, fun, and social aspects were the reasons people continued to practice.

In a blog titled BJJ or Krav Maga: Sport of Self Defense, author Jordan Fernandez says the following:

“As with any major long-term pursuit, the reasons we start training martial arts are often different from the reasons we stick with it. Many of us begin training in a system to learn to defend ourselves or fight.

However, for most of us with day jobs, family, and other life concerns, we stick with it because we enjoy the practice for what it is and how it positively impacts our life.

Whether it is the community, the instructor, or a love for the movement itself, the biggest determinant of mastery in any martial art is genuine enjoyment for training.”

When I first started training, I enjoyed it, but I didn’t love it. I was not very connected to my school- I didn’t socialize much with the people there. I was improving, but still did not know much of what was going on. I am someone who does not like being mediocre, and I was mediocre at best. I kept training (about 2 times a week) because I knew I should. My primary reason kept me going for a few months. 

Until one day I decided to stop being mediocre. I decided I wanted to be good. So I made a commitment to train more. I did, I started really improving, and everything changed. I fell in love with training. I got more connected with my school and the other students. After a few more months, it was a part of me. Training, improving, the community, pushing myself to the next level, seeing benefits in all aspects of my life- I was (and still am) gloriously hooked.

Why does this matter? 

1. If you are thinking of training, just start. The reasons you want to start will most likely change as you decide to continue, so don’t get caught up in your reasons. 

2. If you are training but lacking motivation, maybe it’s time to switch something up. Whether it be your school, your training partners, a different martial art, a different system, your commitment level- the reasons to keep training are not far away. A small tweak can make all the difference. 

3. If you are an instructor, it is vital to know why people train. Someone starting out will have different motivations than someone who sticks with it. If people are not training long in your class/at your school, it might help to evaluate your training methodology. Are you catering to primary motivations? Or to motivations for staying with martial arts?

If I did not make a commitment to improve a few months in, I doubt I would have continued training. It is hard to imagine my life right now without martial arts. Anyone who trains consistently knows the many benefits of training, and want to share that with everyone willing to try.