Whether you’re an advanced martial artist or just beginning your martial arts journey, you’ll have many times where you feel that you’re doing well in your training. Your punches feel strong! You’re confident in your combinations! You feel like the martial arts applications you are learning are being executed almost perfectly! All is well in your world…for now. You must also handle getting through frustrating times in martial arts training as well.
That’s right. Eventually you’ll have a day, week, or even a month or two where you’ll feel like you’re never going to progress as a martial artist. You can’t remember your combinations. The form you knew flawlessly for the previous month is suddenly confusing you. Your fellow students seem to be moving ahead of you in their training. Are you really at the end of your success as a student of the martial arts? Have you peaked? Of course not! You’ve simply hit the notorious “wall of frustration”!
So, what do you do now? The way you choose to answer to this question is extremely important! There will, of course, be the temptation to take the easy way out and simply give up. A devoted student, however, cannot give in to this temptation and will never give up. What are the other options that could help you get through frustrating times in martial arts training and deal with the “wall of frustration”?
Get Through Frustrating Times in Martial Arts Training
Here are some options that have helped me get through frustrating times in martial arts training and Wing Chun classes in general. I hope you will find these options useful as well.
Give Yourself a Reality Check
Take an honest look at your training. Getting through frustrating times in martial arts training involves taking a hard look at your practices. Have you been coming in to class as much as you were before you were experiencing the frustration? Have you been skipping training or leaving early? Are you socializing more than you’re actually practicing? If you have examined your training, attendance, and dedication and can truly say you have not changed your routine, I would recommend that you check your perception of reality with your Sifu (teacher, mentor, master) or your Sihings (advanced students). Sometimes others can give us insight into how we may have changed in our level of dedication or attendance in our training.
Seek Advice From Advanced Students
Getting through frustrating times in martial arts training may mean involve seeking help from above. Yes, that kind of above—but also from others ranked higher than you. It’s a guarantee that the seasoned higher ranked students have been there before you. Whatever walls you are running into, I bet your Sihings will have an idea about how to help you get through frustrating times. Let your Sihings know how you are feeling about your training, and be as specific as you can about your areas of frustration. Since your Sihings are more advanced, they will be able to tell you about how they overcame the challenges you faced when they were in your position. Make sure you are open-minded to what they are telling you. They are there to help you grow and move beyond any obstacles you may have in your training.
Look at the Goals You’ve Set for Yourself
If you have set goals for yourself on your path to achievement in martial arts, which I suggest all martial arts practitioners should, then you may need to review them. Is your frustration a result of setting goals for yourself that are unrealistic? Have you given yourself too strict a timeline to try to meet your goals? You can’t expect yourself to be Bruce Lee or Ip Man overnight! Your training will take time. If you think you should be able to achieve the same level of power and accomplishment in 6 months of Wing Chun that your Sihings have taken 3 years to accomplish, then you are definitely setting yourself up for feelings of frustration. It is difficult not to compare ourselves to others with whom we train, but we have to remember that we train to improve ourselves, not to be somebody else.
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Sifu Justin Och Wing Chun Kung Fu
Regional Director for the SE USA, World Ving Tsun Association.
116 East Pine Street, Lakeland, Florida 33801