Grit: The One Trait All Martial Artists Should Have

If someone told you that there was this one magical pill that would make you a great Muay Thai/BJJ/Boxing student, would you take it? This pill would ensure that it didn’t matter how talented or athletically gifted you are, you’d still achieve your ultimate goal of becoming a great martial artist. We’ll let you in on a little secret – there’s no magic pill. Instead, it’s a trait that anyone could work towards. It’s this little thing called grit.

According to University of Pennsylvania psychologist Angela Duckworth, grit is defined as passion and perseverance for long-term goals. How “gritty” an individual is determines his/her ability to work hard, endure, struggle, fail and try again – qualities that all the greatest martial artists/World Champions have.

In order to develop grit, you must go above and beyond of what is expected of you as a martial artist. You must hone whatever mental toughness you have and use it to the best of your ability. Here’s how to add a bit of grit to your martial arts journey:

1) When you decide to do something, stick to it

Grit is all about tenacity and having an unwavering conviction to what you believe in. If you believe you want to fight in the ONE Championship cage someday, then do all that you can to get there. Don’t listen to anyone who tells you otherwise and most importantly, don’t let them change your mind. You are a master of your own fate. Take small steps to achieving your ultimate goal and slowly build your strengths and confidence. You can take all the time you need, but you mustn’t deviate from your goal until you’ve achieved it.


2) Be OK with making mistakes

Resilience is a trait all martial artists must have.

Work to improve at least 1% everyday.

The most successful martial artists didn’t get to where they are today because they’ve won every single match they’ve fought. They’ve experienced their fair share of losses and failure. But what helped them progress in their journey is learning from their failures, and seeing it as a necessary experience in the process of reaching their goals.


3) Go that extra round even when you feel like you can’t

BJJ World Champion and UFC Fighter Leandro "Brodinho" Issa hails from Ubatuba, Brazil.

BJJ World Champion and UFC Fighter Leandro “Brodinho” Issa hails from Ubatuba, Brazil.

Martial arts isn’t easy, and if you want to be a great martial artist, you’ll need to push yourself, even when you feel like you can’t move anymore. You always have a choice when things begin to get tough. You can choose not to eat healthy for performance because you love fast food, or use your favorite techniques in favor of new ones in order to win all your spars. Choosing to overcome an obstacle and grow as a martial artist instead of quitting when the going gets tough is certainly the “grittier” option. By working through the tough times, you’ll be inspired to get through it every single time.


4) Don’t let your emotions get the best of you

Nong-O Gaiyanghadao, formerly known as Nong-O Sit Or, is considered to be one of the best pound for pound Muay Thai fighters in the world today.

Nong-O Gaiyanghadao, formerly known as Nong-O Sit Or, is considered to be one of the best pound for pound Muay Thai fighters in the world today.

It’s easy to let your emotions get the best of you. It will challenge your grit every single time, especially when you’re feeling weary from training. While it’s impossible not to have any negative emotions, you can work to control and manage them in such a way that it doesn’t affect your martial arts journey. This way, you won’t be tempted to stray from your goals and think more rationally instead of acting on impulse.


5) Be patient


Having grit is knowing and understanding that nothing comes easily. The less we expect from others and the more patient we are about accomplishing our martial arts goals, the easier it will be for us to persevere in our martial arts journey. People with grit know that real results only come after you’ve put in the time and effort and forego instant gratification.


There’s no doubt that developing grit would not only help you succeed in martial arts but also in everything else you do. Once you’ve developed it, nothing can stop you. So go on, challenge yourself and stick it out. Face your fears; cry a little. Once you’ve survived it all, you’d most certainly be ready for anything that comes your way.

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