How to Build Self-Discipline Through Martial Arts

The most common reason people enroll themselves or their children in a martial arts program is to cultivate “self-discipline” – even though they often cannot explain what they mean by it. As a result, they register themselves (or their children) for martial arts classes because they know that self-discipline is valuable. Although they ignore how building self-discipline works, they don’t think about it very much. Here’s How to Build Self-Discipline Through Martial Arts.

How to Build Self-Discipline Through Martial Arts
How to Build Self-Discipline Through Martial Arts

In a structured environment, such as that provided by a traditional martial arts class, basic social skills, such as courtesy and self-control, can be taught. Despite functioning in a classroom setting, merely being exposed to a structured environment cannot guarantee self-discipline. It can only be achieved through internal motivation and acquiring such life skills as perseverance (refusing to quit), honesty (being realistic about where improvement is needed), and, most importantly, indomitable spirit.

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What can be done as a result of these mental skills? Baekjul bogolgol can be translated into these words in many ways. Translation into English of this phrase is quite challenging, as it represents a complex idea. In my opinion, “commitment to achieving one’s goals” is a sufficient approximate definition.   

Because rank progression is normally tied to meaningful standards, traditional martial arts provide an excellent setting for learning how to set and accomplish goals. Setting and accomplishing goals is facilitated by the concept of rank progression in traditional martial arts. 

Students often set the goal of obtaining their first black belt for their first training session. Students must first earn some intermediate degrees (color belt ranks) to obtain their first degree. When they learn how to set goals, they naturally apply these abilities outside the studio in other aspects of their lives: education, career, relationships with other people, and participation in community activities.

Learning how to set goals that lead to improved performance rather than frustration is extremely important for students. All reasonable goals should fit into one of the following categories, regardless of whether they relate to martial arts:

Specifically

Explain exactly what you are hoping to accomplish in your goal. A vague declaration like “I want to earn a black belt someday” or “I want to lose weight” is not specific; a specific declaration like “I want to test for blue belt at the next rank testing” or “I want to lose five pounds by the end of next month” is.

Motivational

If you want to achieve something desirable, such as a new belt, losing twenty pounds, attending class on the honor roll, or getting a promotion, you should set a goal. You have no incentive to work towards a goal if it doesn’t offer any benefit.

Reachable

It means that the goal must be attainable. Most individuals can attain black belt status within 36 months or lose eight pounds in a month. Black belts earned in 12 months, or weight loss in a month, is not achievable.

Important

Set goals that are in line with your overall goals. For instance, as a martial arts instructor, your goal should be to develop your teaching abilities. Diet and exercise are both keys to shedding weight.

Measurable

Benchmarks need to be set along the way. Martial arts belts (or scales for those wishing to lose weight) provide immediate feedback on progress.

It is easier to achieve goals when they are set using this formula, and the success of achieving them feels more thrilling.

How does self-discipline fit into this equation? Goals that are worthwhile to strive for require effort, and sometimes setbacks can discourage us. To succeed, one must build the internal motivation and commitment necessary to achieve their goals, no matter how difficult they may be. Developing self-discipline begins with this foundation.

Martial artists reading this are challenged to set goals outside the martial arts to extend the self-discipline they are developing through their training. Here are some questions to help you get started:

  • Do you have any recommendations on how I can improve academic or job performance over the next 30 days?
  • Could you tell me one thing you will do in the next 30 days to become a more caring family member or friend?
  • What is one thing I can do to be a better citizen of my community over the next 30 days?

To develop self-discipline, consider beginning martial arts training if you are not already a martial artist. The purpose of traditional martial arts is to develop self-confidence and defend oneself. You must find a studio that will help you develop a vision for your personal growth and guide you in setting goals to achieve that vision. Providing only physical skill-based training will only result in half the training the studio should be providing. To achieve personal success, you need to exercise self-discipline, and to do that, you should train the whole person.

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