Lifeskills: Persistence & “Sticking With It”

Howdy, folks! I’m kicking off 2015 with a blog series on “Lifeskills.” In other words, the skills that we teach our martial arts students that transfer over and apply to other areas in life.

  • Like respect, performance skills, confidence, resilience, leadership, balance, the ability to handle pressure, etc. ALL of these can be used ANY time to meet school, work, and life goals.

Today, I’m going to talk about persistence. The ability to stick with it. Until the goal is met.

test anxiety

I was thinking today about how to have a conversation with a student who is ready to quit. Obviously, I wanted to talk to them about not quitting. People quit martial arts for a lot of reasons. But this student needs martial arts. A lot of us need martial arts, more than we realize.

I thought I’d share a few of my thoughts about persistence, martial arts, and quitting–and why it’s so vital that kids get a chance to wrestle with these skills before they become young adults.

The reality is, no one’s perfect. Even adults.

But we all have to keep trying. 

We all have to keep going to school, to work, to the grocery store.

Or to martial arts class.

karate stanwood

Sempai Jasmine practicing alongside a younger student.

Except martial arts are different.

  • They’re not required to stay alive (until you’re a black belt :P).
  • And they’re not required by anyone else (except maybe your parents, and if so, good for them for making you stick with it!)

For kids, martial arts are an opportunity to practice the skill of persistence. The skill of sticking with it until a goal is met.

Martial arts are an ART. Meaning, they require lots of practice to get good at them. The kids in the photo below? ALL of them have been training for 3+ years. And they’re starting to look pretty good.

Wow! Great stances!

Wow! Great stances!

 

Like playing the piano or learning ballet, or how to sing, act, draw cartoons, do watercolors, sculpt or pot, arrange flowers, perform Japanese tea ceremony, knit, crochet, carve wood, make furniture, weld metal, sew clothing, pour concrete, write code, write a mystery novel, run a business—ANYONE who does these things will tell you that they experienced failures before they became really good at them!

So, the next time you think about quitting martial arts, tell yourself you’ll reconsider after you get your next belt. Set that goal and work for it. Let go of your sense of failure.

Practice persisting until the goal is met.

Getting a new belt!

Getting a new belt!

Think about what’s next after that goal is reached, and you just might find that you want to keep going after all.

If you can get to blue, don’t you think you might be able to get to purple? And maybe even someday black?

Martial arts take work, but they’re incredibly rewarding, once you keep at it for a while.

And that is a powerful lesson for anyone to learn!

Beginning of test

About Sensei/YDN Caitlin

Sensei Yudanjanim Caitlin is a 2nd degree black belt, senior instructor, administrative assistant, and student of Tae Kwon Do, Karate, and Arnis at Northwest School of Martial Arts.
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