Turning over a new leaf and making a few vows to better yourself is popular at the beginning of a new year. Most martial artists are no different. Here are a few of the more popular resolutions for martial artists and a few tips on how to follow through.
1. Get into fighting shape. Whether you have an upcoming fight or not, most everyone has put on a few unwanted pounds after going through the holiday season. "At this point, I'd probably settle for even halfway to fighting shape," quips Kerstin Brookmann. If you weren't actively training a month or less before the holidays, don't jump right back into your fight preparation training routine. Start out slow and ramp up gradually, you'll be more likely to stick with it and you'll eventually begin taking the pounds off.
2. Increase in rank. "I'm looking to get my blue belt in BJJ," says jiu jitsu practitioner Scott Rausch. "My main martial arts goal for 2013 is to earn my intermediate ranks in Ron Balicki's MARS Kali and Jun Fan systems," adds Eric Anderson. Increasing your rank is a great way to stay motivated. Be sure to make a realistic schedule when adding in extra training times for curriculum review and stick to it. Check out how many weeks you have until the next testing and make a realistic schedule and goal based on that time frame.
3. Attend camps and seminars. Randy Siordia of Wolf Martial Arts has a goal to attend the annual camps for Martial Arts Research Systems and the Garimot Arnis Training. "I would like to advance in my understanding of the GAT (Garimot Arnis Training) system, especially with Siete Colores and Moro-Moro under Gat Puno Abon Baet," says Siordia. Attending a camp or a seminar is a great and inspiring way to motivate yourself to continue training. Once you've set a date and paid for the training, human nature is that you want to be sure you get the most out of what you've paid, which means being prepared and in shape enough so that you can follow the drills and make improvements on your skills.
4. Public performance. "Maybe I'll get a demo together this year," states Kerstin Brookmann for whom demos are not her strong suit, but are required for her to advance in her black belt. Eric Anderson is also challenging himself to do a demo this year. "A coworker has asked me to do a Kali demo at a cultural event," Anderson says. "I've never done this type of demo before, so planning and executing it will be a challenge, but it's a challenge I'm looking forward to." Any kind of public demonstration of your skills, whether it be a fight or a demonstration will motivate you to train. Often the desire to perform well in front of peers or an audience will be more motivating than holding yourself accountable to your goals.
5. Increase fight experience. "I'm hoping to increase my fight experience," says savateuse Siân-Marie Clark, "by going to every European Savate competition I get the chance to go to, aiming to work on my fight psychology and improving the self belief that I have been lacking the the last few years." To increase your fight experience, you must register for fights. Before you begin, take a realistic assessment of your current fitness level and determine whether you think you can get into fighting shape before the fight you plan to participate in. Ask your coach or an instructor that you trust to be honest with you. Set a training schedule and stick to it. As long as you have adequately trained, you will learn from your fight.
Martial arts resolutions are just like any others; make realistic goals and take your schedule into consideration.