Pushing through a slump in Martial Arts


No matter what skill level you’re at in martial arts, you can hit a point where it seems like your training is going nowhere and the improvements are few and far between. The reason a plateau occurs is due to our bodies amazing ability to adapt quickly and efficiently to the same routine.

When this takes place, it’s a signal for us to mix up the training regimen and begin to approach training from a different perspective. To surpass existing and impending plateaus, we need to make minor adaptations to move forward and bring on progress.

Transform your regimen

Implementing a new approach in training will stimulate the body and mind to adjust and conform to the new changes taking place. Mix up your training by working on your weak or less proficient side of your body. Most of us are right handed, which means we would focus on using our left side.

Another way to break up your training is to start from a disadvantage position or one you very rarely are in. A student in a striking discipline might want to begin cornered against the ropes and have to fight his/her way out to the center of the cage. If you are a grappling discipline, begin in a less favorable position and work on your counters and escapes.

Goals and Challenges

Setting your sites on a single objective will speed up the process while maintain clarity and focus. Taking on a personal challenge will make you work harder than you normally would and force you to think and act differently to achieve it. Goals are achievable whereas to fulfill a challenge may take many tries if it is reached at all.

Some examples of goals would be: knowing the detailed particulars of a certain position, drilling a technique for a large sum of repetitions, or just getting more time in training. The primary goal for students in many martial arts disciplines is to reach the rank of black belt. Setting out on a challenge could entail ranking #1 in competition, or instructing an individual to the black belt rank. A good challenge is a sure-fire way to bust through a training plateau.

Reexamine the Basic Moves

Taking in too much details and techniques all at once will become overwhelming and shutdown the whole learning process. Go back to the basic positions and drill the fundamentals to provide muscle memory and help you master the movement. Once you are adept at the position or move, add on a few new techniques and you will find it less confusing.

During sparring, work on positional training to focus on the details of a set area of skills. Time out the positions at 2-3 minutes intervals and concentrate on controlling that one position, whether it is standing, on the ground, or against the cage. Figuring out the details to a position will give you the options to counter or manipulate an opponent’s move.

Stop training plateaus from thwarting or slowing down your progress. Changing up a common routine on a regular basis will prevent the body from adapting and help to keep your mind engaged and active. Don’t…

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