There is no straight, easy path to becoming a great martial artist. In fact, in our quest to become the best martial artist we could possibly be, we sometimes face obstacles that stand in the way of our success. These obstacles are also known as bad habits — hurdles that hold us back from achieving our full potential.
Don’t feel bad. Everyone, at some point in their martial arts journey, falls prey to bad habits. Sometimes these habits are developed over the course of months, and in some cases, even years. According to Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit, every habit consists of a cue, a behavior or routine, and a reward. He says that a bad habit is fixable, as long as you are able to identify it properly.
Today, Evolve Daily helps you identify 5 Bad Training Habits You Need To Break Right Now:
Bad Habit #1 Using the same old techniques
Original goal: Learn as many techniques as you can and adapt it to your game
Typical cues: Threatened by a student of a lower rank, feeling pressured by instructor to do well in sparring, refusing to lose to another student in sparring
Behavior: Using one or two foolproof techniques you’ve mastered ever since you started training martial arts
Reward: Winning the spar, of course!
Solution: Although sticking to the same old techniques might work for awhile in sparring, they won’t help you become a better student in the future. Before you know it, your peers would overtake you because you’ve decided to limit your technical knowledge. You’d also become one-dimensional and predictable. Instead of sticking to what’s safe, incorporate a new technique or two during each sparring session. Forget about your ego and just go with it. Although you might fail the first few times, remember that your martial arts journey is always a work in progress. With enough practice, you’ll be able to make these new techniques part of your game.
Bad Habit #2: Not attending class regularly
Typical cues: You want to hang out with your co-workers after office hours instead of training, the stress from work is too much and you just want to relax
Behavior: Skipping training in favor of relaxing
Reward: Going home and sitting in front of the TV or getting a drink with your co-workers — ahhhh!
Solution: You can’t be good at anything, especially martial arts if you don’t clock in the hours — plain and simple. Martial arts requires time and dedication in order to progress to the next level. How do you expect to improve and fix your mistakes if you don’t put in the time? Remember, practice makes perfect — you can’t be perfect if you don’t practice.
Bad Habit #3: Relying on strength
Original goal: Using a combination of athleticism, strength and technique to do well in martial arts
Typical cues: Feeling unsure about your technique, panicking while sparring
Behavior: Using strength instead of technique
Reward: Knowing that you beat your opponent!
Solution: In martial arts, especially Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, leverage and technique are the tools one should use against their opponent. Winning a spar this way proves that your technique is superior, and that strength and speed are an unnecessary waste of energy. Doing so ensures that you are conserving your energy and speed, giving you the upper hand when your opponent is out of breath.
Bad Habit #4: Not eating well
Original goal: Eat to maximize performance and look great, of course.
Typical cues: Grabbing fast food on the go because you don’t have time, it’s just easier to buy junk food, craving for sweets
Behavior: Choosing processed junk food over healthy, fresh food
Reward: That sweet sugar rush!
Solution: When you’re serious about reaching your martial arts goals, you’ll pull all stops to ensure you get there. This means keeping good nutrition habits, even when you’re off season. Eating well ensures your body can perform to its maximum capacity during training at all times. Remember those times you felt sluggish after gulping down a burger and fries after training? Chances are, you felt sluggish for a reason — it’s your body’s way of telling you that you should probably be avoiding junk food.
Bad Habit #5 : Sticking to the same partners
Original goal: Challenge yourself by being able to beat different styles and games
Typical cues: Feeling nervous about a spar, seeing your usual training partners, not wanting to exert too much effort in class
Behavior: Immediately choosing your regular training partner during techniques and sparring
Reward: A predictable spar
Solution: Although sparring and partnering up with familiar faces might feel comforting, it hinders you from accomplishing your full potential as a martial artist. Sticking to the same partners also makes you complacent, especially since you’ve probably figured your friends out already. Challenge yourself and pick a new sparring or training partner every now and then. Not only will you be able to expand your arsenal of techniques, you’ll also make new friends!
Don’t give up — you can easily reverse a bad training habit as long as you put in the effort to change it. Although it may be difficult to change your bad habit to a good one, identifying its cues and rewards will definitely bring you one step closer to achieving your goals. Be patient — take the time to analyze how your bad habits benefit you so you can turn them into good habits that reward you in the same way.
So go on, tell us which bad training habits you’ll break today?