Friday, August 20, 2010

10 Ways to Get Out of a Martial Arts Rut

Have you ever felt like you were in a rut? Doing the same thing and feeling like you are getting nowhere. Did you ever feel that way about your martial arts training? You come to class but don't feel like you are improving, learning or enjoying the process. Here are a few suggestions to help get out of a martial arts rut.

1. Examine your goals. Make sure you have short term and long term attainable goals.

2. Read a book. Be inspired by new ideas.

3. Go to a seminar. Seminars are a great way to jump start your enthusiasm. Personally, I am always motivated to train with more intensity after a great seminar.

4. Try something new.

5. Get out of your comfort zone.

6. Compete in a tournament.

7. Expose yourself to other martial arts styles and ways of thinking.

8. Take a road trip and train with friends. This is my personal favorite!

9. Take a small, scheduled break with a date of return. A few days/week away may remind you how much you enjoy training. Careful with this one...don't turn a short break into an extended absence.

10. Write a martial arts blog or comment on other blogs. Joining the blogging community kept me involved in martial arts while recovering from an injury.

Any other suggestions? Please add to the list or share your experiences.

Thanks for reading!


Felicia said...

Hi, Michele...Great ideas here. For me, competing in a tournament and going to a seminar are the two sure-fire ones that always get me enthusiastic about returning to the mat. Good suggestions there...

You kinda covered this one with the blogging suggestion, but something else I've found that works is just chatting karate with my training partners live and in-person or emailing about it with friends who train and aren't so close by. Sending cool blog posts to them all and inviting them to respond to everyone helps, too. Hearing others' opinions on training philosophies, history and stuff like that is quite enlightening.

Great post! Thanks for sharing :-)

Rick Matz said...

When I find myself in a rut, I take a step back and take my practice apart and put it back together again.

Meg said...

Thank you so much for posting this! I've been in a major funk about my martial arts for a while now and you just completely nailed it! I've been working on changing things up...I've taken a bit of a break, have started taking Tai Chi classes and have read a couple of books that are helping me rethink my ways.
It feels like you know what's going on in my head! Thank you!!

SenseiMattKlein said...

Hi Michele, like your comments about trying new things and getting out of your comfort zone. Those things really make life interesting. How about one more? Take a different way home from work or school. The new scenery will be refreshing and you might even discover a great shortcut.

Your experiences with the ACL/full knee re-construction are the same as mine. It was no fun, but completely necessary to maintain my career as a martial artist.

Sue C said...

Hi Michele, You have some great ideas here - I like the road trip idea, where do you go? I think sharing the passion for martial arts with like minded people is really important for ongoing motivation, whether it be through training together, talking face to face or blogging. Blogging has been an amazingly important experience for me in lots of ways. I'm lucky that both my husband and son share the passion for karate and so we keep each other going.

Michele said...

Thank you for your comments!

Felicia: Thanks! My husband likes tournaments because of the people he meets at the events. I try to keep in contact with my long distance karate friends too.

Rick: Excellent suggestion. Taking a step back helps put things in perspective.

Meg: Your welcome! This summer has been difficult for me in regards to my martial arts training. I am still working on getting back on track.

Sensei Klein: Thank you for stopping by! Great idea...I will have to try varying my morning commute. I live near a lake and I can drive an alternate route. It will be nice when the leaves change.

SueC: Sharing with family...great suggestion. My husband and I have mini-sessions - discussing or experimenting with techniques. I have often pulled him into the dojo to "borrow" an arm. :)

Journeyman said...

Lots of great ideas. We all get into these ruts from time to time. I agree that a break away can be a great way to refresh the mind and spirit (and body) but also agree this needs to be used with caution.

Your blogging suggestion is an excellent one. This is a great way to really examine what you are doing and why. Often, while writing a post, those ideas or thoughts that seem to lie just beyond our reach come into focus. Also, it allows you to meet and discuss topics with martial artists from all over the world, something that wasn't possible not that long ago.

The study of martial arts is a lifelong journey. I believe that learning to deal with the bumps along the way is part of it. The key is not to give up.

The Barefoot Lawyer said...

Try to think about how the lessons you've learned in martial arts apply elsewhere. Training doesn't exist in a vacuum. I think this gives me perspective on my life, rather than just the 1-2 hours I spend in a dojang every day.

Michele said...

Hi Journeyman! Thanks for commenting. It is good to be reminded that martial arts is a lifelong journey. I may have hit a bump but it is part of the normal ebb and flow. Thanks...

T: Good point!