When you join a martial arts training program, you aim to become proficient. However, it isn’t easy to progress through the levels from beginner to master – it needs focus, hard work, and determination. More importantly, you must have the mental resilience to accept and get over challenges.
Progress in martial arts entails two things – attribute and skills development. Attributes include physical aspects like endurance, flexibility, and strength. On the other hand, skills comprise acquired motor movements like punching and kicking.
Skills largely depend on attributes. You can acquire a few skills without the right qualities, but you won’t become proficient. However, you can obtain characteristics without skills. That said, attributes without skills are called callisthenics, which differs from martial arts.
Martial arts has five skill development levels. This is the consensus across popular combat sports.
The first step in development is called Karate-Do. Unfortunately, most students never progress beyond this stage. Instead, they remain at the level, with some abandoning training.
Karate-Do mainly focuses on improving life skills like discipline, honour, restraint, etc. Combined with simple fighting techniques, these skills improve a student’s character and physical well-being.
The second level is known as Karate Jutsu. Here, teaching focuses on opponent neutralisation. Students learn how to target an attacker’s weak and sensitive pressure points to render them incapable of continuing the attack. Unfortunately, knockouts are also common at this level.
After learning how to neutralise attackers, the focus shifts to joint locking and wrestling techniques. The goal is to compel the opponent to surrender or hurt them. It’s worth noting that this third stage was designed to set up an attacker for failure. Specifically, the opponent overcommits by exerting too much power such that they hurt their mobility.
The fourth level is known as life protection. It pictures a scenario where a student finds two people in a conflict -an attacker and a victim. The objective is to stop the fight while ensuring that both parties get out of it alive. As such, it involves advanced skills and dexterity. More importantly, the student must display discipline to avoid hurting the attacker.
The final skill and perhaps the most demanding is life-taking. Due to its extremity, this stage requires a specific skill set. Also, the techniques used at this stage remain secret among elite martial artists.
How to Progress in Martial Arts
You need the discipline to progress and become an elite martial artist. However, in training, hard work and mental discipline beat talent. You might have the innate ability to grasp concepts more quickly than others, but you won’t become great if you don’t work hard. Specifically, you need to push yourself to achieve your goals, even if they seem unattainable.
An intelligent way of improving your skills is breaking complicated tasks into smaller, achievable ones. In addition, this tactic improves your attitude towards the training, making it easier to grasp concepts.
Lastly, there’s power in repetition. A technique that seems hard to execute will become easier if you practice it repeatedly. Ensure you practice with like-minded people who motivate you.