No matter if you are the most experienced of instructors or the most novice of students, you will remember the first time you stepped into the gym and your first few martial arts lessons. More importantly than all of that, everyone remembers their first year training martial arts. The first year defines much of your martial arts journey as many of the most important lessons are learned within this period.
Today, Evolve Daily reveals The 5 Biggest Lessons You Will Learn During Your First Year Of Martial Arts.
1) You will learn to balance your life better
Life can be chaotic. Whether studying or working, keeping up with the dreaded bills that flow in non-stop while juggling your social commitments can be difficult. Chaotic may be an understatement. In martial arts, you learn to prioritize different objectives effectively. In BJJ, you may need to give up a certain position in order to end up in a better position. In Muay Thai, you may need to trick your opponent to strike before being able to land the perfect combination of your own.
Learning to prioritize in the gym can also help prioritize life outside of the gym as well. Balancing your life becomes easier with the endorphins you release during and after each training session. With a clearer mind, you will be able to organize your life better, and you will find yourself doing more of what makes you happy.
2) You will learn to push your limits higher than ever before
In your first year of martial arts, you will surprise yourself, consistently, on how far you can keep going after your mind tries to tell you that you are tired. You will learn that your body can continue going longer than your mind would have you believe. Tired as you may be from learning and retaining new techniques, you will learn to jump the mental hurdle and keep persevering during those drills every training session with the encouragement from instructors and support of other students around you. Pushing the mental hurdle doesn’t only happen in year one, it stays with us in years two, three, and all subsequent years to follow, the only differentiating factor is the type of challenge.
Perhaps you are able to do 10 push-ups with knee assistance by yourself right now. You are guaranteed to be able to do more with the buzz of the gym surrounding you, the watchful eye of instructors who want the best out of you and people to the left and right of doing the same thing. Within the one year, 10 knee push-ups will progress to 20 knee push-ups, and in the next year perhaps 30 unassisted push-ups. When you think you have gone as far as you think you can go, it is only half of what you are capable of.
3) At the same time, you will learn to know your limits
Martial arts will help you understand your body better. Not only will you discover muscles in places you didn’t know muscles even grew, but you will learn where your limits are. In BJJ, you will learn to tap when learning submissions, to let your partner know that they have executed the technique correctly and so you can both keep drilling the technique in a safe environment.
Your limits are not static and will change as your body adapts to martial arts, with another example being flexibility. Everyone knows their limit when it comes to flexibility, and you may start off only able to raise your legs as high as a body kick. However, with more training, your flexibility will increase, and you will be able to reach those pads held at head height.
4) You will learn that learning is long-term
It is always good to have both short-term and long-term goals, keeping in mind that learning is a long-term process. Just like the fact that we need to spend around 15 years in school to obtain a high school certificate – from being exposed to the alphabet and multiplication, to learning sciences and advanced algebra. Basics are always taught first and often takes the longest in order to build a solid foundation. As they say, you must learn to walk before you can run.
Martial arts is the same, and one of the biggest lessons you will learn in your first year is to slow it down. Being proficient at anything requires the willingness and patience to go slow at first. Slowing the movement down in a technique helps us get that movement into our body, to perfect it and turn it into muscle memory so that it will become instinctive down the track. Once you understand the movements, you will learn to put them together to form a combination, and subsequently, add in separate timing and reaction techniques. Yes, learning martial arts is long-term, but it is worth it. Visualize your desired outcome. Whatever your goals may be, they will motivate you to keep learning.
5) You will learn that you can grow a second family
Lastly, what few people expect when they walk into a martial arts gym for the first time is to walk out of the gym a year later with a new family. Day in, day out, these people will greet you with friendly smiles, be there to witness new milestones of your achievements and celebrate them with you, as well as encourage you to do your best even on the worst of days. You will keep each other accountable to your training goals and laugh with each other when your instructors ask you to do something seemingly impossible (yet you end up miraculously doing it).
There is a never-ending amount of knowledge to be learned from martial arts, and though you will learn so many skills and techniques in your first year of training, the biggest lessons learned don’t have much to do with martial arts at all. They are about improving yourself, understanding how you learn, and the limits of your body. However, the first year of martial arts training can’t happen without the first day. Try it out and see for yourself!