People have their own unique routines when it comes to martial arts training. Some people are completely engrossed in their training, while others train simply for the fitness benefits.
If you are one of those people who wants to be the best martial artist you can possibly be, there are certain things that you can do to get the most out of your training.
1) Dedicate Yourself
Just like anything else in life, you have to take your martial arts training seriously if you want to get the most out of it. Training once a week is okay if that is all your schedule permits, but you can’t expect to be as good as someone who trains four or five times a week.
Martial arts techniques are learned via muscle memory, so the more you get to drill techniques, the more instinctive the moves you are learning become.
Aim to train as often as you can.
2) Take Notes
Students typically learn two or three techniques during each martial arts class. This is done to avoid overwhelming them with too much information. The instructor breaks down the details of each move and the students get to drill them with different training partners.
By the end of each class, each student has a basic grasp of each move.
An effective way to retain all the information being thrown at you is by writing notes at the end of each class. These notes should contain as many details as possible and you can also throw in a few sketches.
Over time, the number of techniques you have been taught will grow, and when the details of any particular technique become foggy, you can always reach for your notebook. You should also use your notebook as a journal to track your progress. Write down the techniques that are most effective for you, the techniques that you find hardest to defend against, or the physical limitations that you have noticed while training.
Do you constantly get overpowered during training? Do you lose sparring sessions simply because you get tired before your opponent? Is there a technique that sparring partners often use that always catches you?
Writing these things down gives you a visual representation of the things you need to work on and helps you come up with a solution.
If you are getting physically overpowered, you can incorporate strength training into your routine. If cardio issues limit your performance when sparring, there are countless ways to improve your cardio.
3) Ask Questions
Your instructors are one of your best resources when it comes to your training. Never hesitate to ask questions when techniques are being broken down or when you find yourself struggling with techniques. Don’t know how to escape from a certain position? Ask your instructor about the best ways to do it.
You should also consider getting private lessons from time to time. If you are writing down notes as recommended earlier, there will eventually come a time when your list of questions becomes rather long. A private lesson is a great way to get personalized training as you can bring your notes and go over them with the instructor.
4) Train With More Advanced Students
It is very easy to fall into a routine where you often find yourself sparring with less experienced training partners. You get to practice your offensive moves more and it can be an ego boost. However, it is not beneficial to your growth as a martial artist.
You should aim to spar with people with different experience levels. Training with people who are more experienced than you is actually the most beneficial.
For starters, it forces you to sharpen your techniques. You might be able to get away with sloppy techniques when sparring with a white belt, but it will only get you into trouble with advanced students who can counter your poor technique easily. It also gives you the opportunity to work on your defense since it is likely that you will spend most of the sparring time with a more experienced martial artist playing defense.
Advanced students are also more likely to teach you things as you spar. If you are putting up a poor defense, many higher-level students will actually tell you what you are doing wrong and how to improve it. These people already know that they are better martial artists than you are, so there is no ego there. For example, it isn’t uncommon to see Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) advanced belts telling white belts to relax, tuck their elbows in, or stop being flat on their back while rolling. These are basic fundamentals of BJJ, and many advanced students will instinctively point them out when sparring with someone who hasn’t learned them yet.
Training with people who have similar experience levels is also beneficial. The opponents’ skills often cancel each other out, so sparring sessions often come down to little details like who has tighter techniques, better cardio, better strategies or better setups.
As you progress further down the ranks, you should also spar with lower belts from time to time. It gives you a chance to give back to the newbies just like the others did for you and you get to practice offensive techniques. Explaining techniques to lower belts improves your techniques as well since it gives you a chance to look at things from a different perspective.
5) Be Immersed In Your Training
Your training as a martial artist should not stop when you leave the dojo. Thanks to the internet, there are many tools at your disposal that can serve as training aids. For example, if you are learning Muay Thai, there are countless videos of Muay Thai bouts online. You can use these as tools to learn the techniques that remain effective at the top level and add them to your arsenal.
There are also many tutorials, books, and seminars that can enrich your martial arts journey.
Getting ready to start your martial arts journey? Come to one of Evolve MMA’s complimentary introductory trial classes and learn what it takes to be an elite martial artist.
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