6 Things Martial Arts Has Taught Me

People can be skeptical of martial arts… Some think that it encourages people to get into fights, others think that there’s little point to learning a martial art unless you are using it for self defense… But here’s the thing, I’ve been in it for a month and a half and I’m learning quite a bit emotionally.

  1. I’m learning that in order to progress I’m going to have days where I feel like I am accomplishing nothing… Days where the only thing that happens is me tapping and everyone is running to find partners so they don’t have to roll with me because I’m “easy.” If I want to get better, if I want to look better, I have to keep pressing and keep trying even on days that I feel like I’m getting no where. Simply because, if I don’t I’m never going to get better.
  2. I’m learning that I get to that line of giving up much easier than I thought and I’ve had to learn to work around that. Because to become the best that I want to be, I need to keep going and I refuse to allow myself to give up simply because it’s hard or because I go through weeks of just tapping.
  3. The idea that there’s always someone smarter than you, always someone better than you… It’s becoming more apparent. Not because anything I’ve done, but because you see it in others. They’re good. They are good fighters, my coaches too. They are some of the best in the state, but even they have to be humble enough to tap out of a fight and accept defeat.
  4. You have to leave your ego at the door. I learned this one during my second week, although, I don’t think mine was ego as much as it was determination… I didn’t want to give up a match not because I was too prideful but because I was getting tired of feeling like I wasn’t moving forward and so I would push myself harder… There’s nothing wrong with pushing yourself harder as long as you know your limits and the limits of your neck, arms, legs, ankles and the like… Because if you are so determined to work out of something you’ll get yourself hurt bad. You HAVE to be willing to say, “HEY! I give! You win!”
  5. Celebrate the victories, and when they ask you “What the heck was that?” Blame it on your coach! I’ve been doing MMA since August and things didn’t start clicking till about a week ago and I’m remembering things that coach taught us in those first few lessons and I’m finally getting some use out of one particular guard position, though the first night I remembered it and put it to use, I got the tap and promptly released it and shot my fists into the air as I’m laying on the mat going “I GOT IT!!! I win!” Coach thought it was funny and when my partner asked about it, I promptly blamed coach. Anyway, that’s not where I was going with that… Celebrate the victories no matter how small and embrace defeat, when you allow it to stop bothering you, when you allow the failure to be dismissed and you don’t hold on to it THAT my friends, is when you start thinking clearer. This is one place that failure and defeat is safe and best accepted and used as a learning experience, and really, that applies to all areas of life, you just have to be more careful.
  6. Krav Maga taught me that it’s better to de-escalate no matter what. Obviously if your life is in immediate danger, then yes, act, but if you have a chance, it’s better to de-escalate an argument, or any issue than it is to try to engage in any way. Even in situations that you would think, “There’s no way to de-escalate that,” There is.. You just have to find it.

So I think that is pretty much it so far, I mean, I’m learning just how bad my “safe” competitive streak is… There’s one girl, I know her moves, but she’s fast, she’s strong, and she’s either tight or heavy depending on her grips, she’s been doing this for three years and she leaves no room for error. So, since I’ve gotten my armbars down and this other maneuver, I can get her to tap, I just have to keep her in my guard long enough or keep a mount long enough to get what I want. Then I can get her tap… My problem is, I’m slow and I don’t always think clearly when she’s bouncing around like a flipping bouncy ball! But this doesn’t apply to life I don’t think…

I’m also learning that when I find a maneuver I like, I try desperately to get it and I’ve been trying once or twice each time I roll to get the Omoplata and I just can’t get it! It’s driving me crazy… However, I’ve got armbars, Kimura, triangles, aaaaaannd…. This other thing, that I really don’t know what it’s called, but it’s quick, easy, and takes little effort.

Anyway, so yes, for anyone who might doubt Martial Arts, there are so many benefits to learning martial arts because it teaches far beyond self defense, or competition fighting, it also teaches you how to get through everyday life and I would recommend it for all ages and any ability level. Even if you think you have some health issue and you can’t, a lot of coaches are willing to help you work around those issues.

One last thing before I close out, your Martial Art family, will likely become family to you… I suppose it depends on the gym, but once people start getting comfortable with you and you roll with a variety of people, it’s almost like having an awesome second family that works your butt off and pushes you to your physical and mental limits. That was one thing that concerned me going starting MMA was that I would be the oddball out, no one would want anything to do with because I was the newbie. But they don’t all do that… My gym works as a team and I love that about them. We are all expected to help each other out and work together.

Y’all have a good rest of your week and weekend.

Jessica

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