Have you ever fallen in love? Although it can be a many-splendored thing, it can also be filled with tears, anxiety and heartache.
Same thing goes for practicing martial arts.
You can’t stop thinking about it, you cry (sometimes) when you feel frustrated, you dedicate long hours of hard work to it. Crazy, right?
For those of us who practice martial arts, we know that it requires commitment, dedication and heart. Practicing martial arts evokes many emotions, you can be certain of that.
As martial artists, we at Evolve Daily understand your pain. There’s no doubt that you can relate to at least a few of these emotional stages of practicing martial arts – we can’t all be Bruce Lee, but we can sure as hell try to be. Here they are:
Stage 1: Feeling instant attraction
You attend your first class and BOOM! You realize that this is definitely something you’re totally going into.
Stage 2: Starting to obsess
You start to research more about martial arts, especially the ones you’re interested in. You Google your instructors, watch the latest ONE FC fights on YouTube and go online window-shopping for gear.
Stage 3: Waiting anxiously till the next session
After spending a good few days on research, you find your heart pounding at the thought of attending your next class. What should you wear? How should you act? How do you get through 5 minutes of jump rope without stubbing your toe?
Stage 4: Finding ways to include martial arts into your daily life
You’ve attended a few sessions and you can’t stop talking about your classes. There isn’t a time when you haven’t mentioned the cool submission you were (finally) able to pull off or how tired your arms are from hitting the pads. You also swear that your abs are starting to show, flashing them to anyone who cares.
Stage 5: Being self-conscious
When asked to perform techniques in class, you’re always nervous about whether or not you’re doing them correctly. Although you’ve been training for a few weeks now, it’s always nerve-wracking when your instructor asks you to repeat what he’s told you to do. Especially when people are watching!
Stage 6: Thinking about the future
What does it take to become a World Champion? How do I get my black belt in BJJ? You’ve come to the point where you set higher standards for yourself because you know you’re capable of it. Who knew you could pull off a high kick in sparring? So many possibilities, you know what it takes to get to the top and you can’t wait to get there.
Stage 7: Overcoming bumps on the road
After a few months into training, you start to learn more complicated moves. You want to show that you’re confident in your skills (because hey, you’ve trained almost every day for four months now), your partner asks you to do the technique first and you fail miserably. What happened? That’s OK. Your nerves got the best of you. You were just really caught up in being the perfect student. You just pick up where you’ve left off and learn from your mistakes.
Stage 8: Constantly talking about martial arts (even more than Stage 4)
Your Facebook status messages are filled with motivational quotes to inspire you to train harder. You purposely hang out with people from your gym because nobody else understands the joy of learning a spinning back elbow or the reverse Dela Riva guard. Goodbye weekends and other people, it’s just you and your goals.
Stage 9: Unexpectedly revealing your love for martial arts
You’re at work and your boss asks you if you’re OK to have a meeting at 4 PM. Instead of saying yes like a normal person, you find yourself saying “OSS!” much to your (and your boss’s) horror.
Stage 10: Performing techniques outside of class
Instead of giving your non-gym friends a high five or a hug, you’ve resorted to kicking them on the shins or punching them lightly on the shoulder. Your spouse has also turned into your personal training partner at home (whether they like it or not) because there’s simply not enough time in the day to practice martial arts.
Stage 11: Worrying that you’re not good enough
You’ve gotten to the point where you’ve achieved most of your goals. Whether it’s getting your purple belt or level 3 in Muay Thai, you feel like you don’t deserve it because you aren’t good enough. There are smaller and lower level people who are beating you at sparring. You start to question yourself and your whole journey.
Stage 12: Deciding that you need a break
You feel so frustrated with yourself that you decide you need a break from training. You feel burned out and unhappy because you aren’t achieving your goals anymore. You start to experiment, do some yoga, go on some runs – you need to figure out where you’re going.
Stage 13: Realizing that martial arts is your one true love
You’ve returned from your hiatus. You feel rejuvenated and are back on track with your goals. You’ve found the cause of your burnout and know how to prevent it from happening again. Most importantly, you’ve realized why you love martial arts so much. You feel like it’s made you a better person, inside and out. You look forward to training again.
So tell us, which stage are you on today?