Knowing where you're going
Well I have just finished reading an interesting article by my friend and fellow martial arts bloggist, Dragan Milojevic and it has got me thinking about one of my pet peeves in martial arts. So before you read further read his excellent contribution on studying and teaching martial arts.
So what is it you want to be capable of?
Let us be honest people who start training martial arts have goals. It might be to be a famous world champion or simply to be able to fight off the bully in the play ground we all have goals, but do you know exactly what your goals are?
With time goals change and that is not a problem because it is a natural part of our training evolution. What is a problem is, not knowing what we are trying to learn or achieve. Most people do not give this much though after they sign up to a martial arts class and are simply satisfied to go along with the program, but does that program lead towards the goal you have set yourself or are they diverging because your goals or the focus of the classes have changed. This has happened to me a number of times since I started studying martial arts 29 years ago, but luckily I have had to opportunities and drive to head on new paths in search of my goals.
What are you prepared to do to achieve it?
This is one of the biggest questions you can ask yourself, but few rarely do!!! By not clearly defining your goals, what it will take to achieve them and most importantly if you are prepared to make the efforts required to reach these goals, you will waste time and money trying to achieve the unachievable. This is my pet hate and one that causes me to wonder what some people train for. There are very few activities or skills that you can get good at training them for 2 hours per week.
Be it learning a martial art, language, new trade they take an investment in both time and cash. Yet many seem to think they can become a skilled Russian trained Ninja with one session a week or less and no extra personal time invested in the process other than looking at Youtube clips to see what the latest thing Vlad is doing is.
No if you train for a bit of fun that is fine and I commend you for it. However if surviving a dangerous situation is your goal invest a little more of yourself and you might come nearer to your goal. Simple things such as eating well and doing a little conditioning will have massive effects on your health and ability to perform under stress and yet within the Systema community there seems a slide towards inactivity and chronic obesity. Be honest with yourself.
Watch these clips of a contest between a variety of Russian fighting styles and mass brawls in the street and think would your current level of training or fitness let you survive such an encounter.
If it does not all is not lost because it that is your goal you can change. I know I am one of the ones who have, as have others I respect. Remember set your goals, check you are prepared to work honestly towards them and then test from time to time, to make sure you have not swerved too far from the path.