Martial arts offer a very valuable expedition of self-discovery. Different phases can be found within this journey from beginner to black belt and beyond. At each phase there are different challenges and obstacles. This article will look at the common uncertainties that most students of the martial arts experience on their journey.
1. Should I really need to study Martial Arts?
This is a big question which is usually found at the beginner and intermediate stage. Often times this question needs to be answered all the way up to black belt stage and maybe even then too!
Self-doubt or insecurity to undergo Martial Arts training is not a bad thing. Instead, it is a way for you to take a step back from your training and rationally ask yourself if karate is still for you. Only you can answer this question but to make sure that you continue to give karate a chance I suggest that you focus on three important things:
Why did you get started in the first place;
What has karate done for you so far; and
What do you still hope to get out of your karate practice?
If you still feel that karate has a lot to offer then your answer to question #1 should be a resounding “yes”!
2. Is there a possibility for me to become a black belt?
Yes! Yes! Yes! Everybody has the potential to do anything they want. The question you should ask yourself is, “Will I allow myself to reach my potential of becoming a black belt?”
3. Can I really use karate in defending myself?
The answer to this question is yes and no. After three months of undergoing training, chances are that you will not be able to defend yourself unless you are enrolled in a specific and intensive self-defense course that is exclusively dedicated on street survival. Right now, you are probably taking a mainstream martial arts class in which case you should expect to gradually develop self-defense skills over a significantly longer period of time. If your main objective is self-defense then take a course that deals with that specifically and also try to read and learn more about basic alertness strategies for going about your everyday life.
4. Are the ethics and spiritual values really true in Karate?
Initially, it seems as if punching and kicking don’t really match the values of discipline and respect and I can’t blame you for thinking that especially after picking up your daily newspaper and reading about the latest local violence. Nevertheless, self-awareness leads to a grander understanding of truth in your life and what it means to you. By learning martial arts you get to know about your own strengths and weaknesses and through its hard physical training you learn how to break through own previous boundaries and bring yourself to the next level in your growth and self-discovery.
This is often times transformed into higher moral and spiritual values which eventually lead to greater self-discipline and respect for your fellow citizens. I believe that all of this is right but it evidently takes time, effort and commitment to make any kind of lasting behavioural change.
5. Will I be able to learn all the techniques and drills?
The more you practice the more possible you are to get the techniques and drills right. Your final success in karate is in direct relation to all the effort, focus and persistence you possess. The more you focus on not getting the drills right, the more you will become frustrated. Change your focus, keep it positive, and eventually you will get the techniques right.
6. Does sparring have to hurt?
Everybody experiences minor bumps and bruises in sparring even when you are wearing protective gear. This is part of martial arts training. Don’t believe anybody who tells you differently. However, very few students experience serious injuries while training at a reputable school that takes every essential safety measure for the well-being of its members. The use of safety gear is one reason for this, but a more important reason is the care and knowledge of a competent instructor who knows how to progressively introduce sparring drills that are both age-appropriate and rank-specific. A competent and caring instructor is the most important than any piece of safety gear.
These are some of the common uncertainties in the early stages of martial arts training and there are obviously many more.
Good luck on your journey in karate.
Sensei Ricky, instructor and owner of PDK Dojo Martial Arts School has been training Karate for over 16 years and is eager to share his experiences and successes in Karate. He also helped students be the best person they can be by providing the best facility for learning Karate and life skills in a safe and fun way.
If you are interested in joining the warm and friendly PDK Dojo Martial Arts School please contact us or fill out our information form and we will organise a trial session for your child.