Proper mental attitude in martial arts

29 October 2012


Over the years, I have had an opportunity to befriend all types of martial artists from every conceivable system.  Teaching martial arts, working in a martial arts supply store and being involved in the Eastern Canada Chinese martial arts federation has given me a rare opportunity to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of different individuals and combative systems, and have come to the conclusion that most legitimate systems(i.e. not those made up by unqualified persons) have special strengths and weaknesses . Furthermore, many systems share similar techniques whose execution may vary slightly.  Visually the movement and usage may vary slightly, however the fundamentals are the same. I’ve also noticed a great difference between those few accomplished martial artists and the rest of practitioners: proper mental attitude. I believe that to be a good martial artist, all you need to do is to excel in your system’s basics, understand the applications, practice every day and practice as a fighter would(with your mind focusing on combative applications, strategy etc..).  To do so ,however may be easier said than done. In fact, the only way to excel in any endeavor is by having the proper mental attitude prior to and during that endeavor.  First you need to set a primary goal. For example, you may desire to become Canadian full contact champion, or you may seek to equal your instructors present skill level, or you may decide to master your system at least to the advanced level( the equivalent of a third dan in another system).You may also choose to simply become skilled in one aspect of martial arts (kicking, clawing, joint locks, etc…).One needs to truly desire his or her chosen goal and desire the life-style changes that goal’s realization will necessitate( for example, to quit smoking or to watch one’s diet).You need to make a choice. Thereafter, you need to pursue that goal with the single-mindedness of a dog chewing on a bone.

    Setting short term goals will be your next logical step. For example, deciding to the full splits by year’s end or your basic moves 5 times per day ,or executing 500 kicks per day, are all examples of short term goals. Their realization leads you closer to your ultimate objective and keeps the progress palpable. The “raison d’être” of the coloured belt system is after all to give people short term goals. 

    Your next step is to schedule the time needed to succeed.  Excuses are as easy to find as rain drops in a tropical storm but those who are great martial arts masters never needed to use any-They made the time, period. No questions asked.

Your final step is to reflect upon what attitude you should have during class. Basically, you want to spend your time well-especially if you have so little to spare. Thus, in training, you ought to be serious , focused and hard-working.

Lorne Bernard


Kontact Sports



This article really helped me understand a little more my art and i might be applying some of these tricks to my training!


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