Martial Arts Goals That Aren’t Fighting? Martial Minutes Podcast 002 (Audio Only)


I was recently asked; “What are some good martial arts goals?
Unlike weight lifting where there are set numbers to record, I don’t now what good goals
would be other than belts, and even then I’m looking more for something in the boxing or
kickboxing range. Problem is, the biggest goal I’d think of is going to a competition
and fight, but for medical reasons I can’t do that. So I ask, what would be a good goal
to work towards as a redeveloping martial artist?” It is only natural when thinking of goals
in martial arts or combat sports to think of competition as the ultimate goal or at
least the main target worth pursuing. After all training in a martial art is learning
a method of fighting whether you intend to fight or not. Competition offers a chance
to really see if one can perform their method of fighting when their partner is not willing
to be compliant. Of course with the addition of rules and officials to enforce these rules
alongside a medical team, it’s the safest form of combat without the additional dangers
of fighting in self defense. If you think of the purpose of competition
it’s really just a tool to improve your training. Of course the goal is to win, to win the fight,
win the tournament, win the titles. When you compete you fight to win, but how do you win?
You train harder and you train smarter. You know you have a match coming so you make more
preparations, you’re mentally ready to make more sacrifices. It’s a lot easier to eat
right and sleep right when the risk is getting beat up! The end result is that you become
a better martial artist. Competition works not only as a measure of your ability to perform
on the day but it’s also a measure of your ability to de disciplined in your preparation.
However, it’s not the only way to develop these qualities or the only way to test yourself
as a martial artist. The way that belts and gradings work are much
the same as competitions, in that they have their own purpose while also serving to motivate
and improve your training. Gradings separate your training into manageable chunks and they
give your coaches an idea of where you should be in your martial arts journey. They serve
to motivate your efforts in training especially as the date approaches, just like a match
or a tournament, having a set date to perform gives you a target to train for. But they
are not absolutely essential to anyone’s development, they are simply decent tools. I’d like to suggest some potential avenues
and hopefully one or more will interest you now or in the future. They are all rewarding
in their own way and each can be mastered over the period of many years. Training challenges always serve as a great
motivator. Set a target for how many heavy bag rounds you want to be able to do with
a decent work rate, you can do this for any style. Film yourself for one or a handful
of rounds and train until you get tired, the idea here is to see what you can do today,
where is your limit right now? For some people it’s not even a full round before they need
to stop but honestly it doesn’t matter. By filming yourself you can objectively find
out how many times you can hit the bag with good technique before you tire and your technique
starts to suffer. Find out how many rounds you can do this for with only a short rest
between. Now take those numbers and increase them, your number of techniques per round
must be maintained and your number of rounds go up. Can’t make 1 round? Aim for 3 rounds.
You can already do 5 rounds? Aim for 10. Coaching is a whole journey of it’s own with
many paths you can take. It’s extremely rewarding to see other people benefit from your training
and advice. Most coaches you speak to will have a good degree of satisfaction coming
from their work. You can even go as far as making this your job, should you want to,
but that’s a whole other topic of it’s own! Pad holding is a coaching skill that is always
in high demand. It’s true that a good pad holder makes your workout and a poor one breaks
it. I teach everyone I work with to hold pads, it’s an important skill to have and also helps
to train your co-ordination for defence. There is an obvious difference in the quality of
workouts with an average pad holder compared to training with someone who has taken the
time to actually understand and improve their skills. Naturally the more time you spend
holding pads right the better you are going to get at it, make it a habit to do a little
pad work with your class mates whenever there is time and space. Possibly at the end of
your training session or during open mat time when your gym has assigned time for things
like this. When you want to start taking your pad holding
to the next level you could offer your time to help assist with beginner classes. Typically
your main coach will teach as normal but you will be helping the lower grades and newer
members by holding pads for them for a few minutes. It’s great experience for everyone
giving the beginners a little one on one time with a more experienced member and you get
time to practice pad holding and correcting techniques that you are already comfortable
with. A beginner will typically take much longer to do the same moves you already know,
so even as an inexperienced pad holder or coach you will have the time and space you
need to give instruction without additional pressure on you. Over time your pad holding
and your ability to give corrections will improve, this makes the difference between
a good pad holder and a great pad holder. With the good you wont get injured, but with
the great your technique can improve every single workout. Assistant coaching is a great goal to work
towards if you don’t want to be a full time coach. I’ve known many people over the years
that easily had enough ability to be a head coach and for their own reasons they didn’t
want to do that, but they did and some still do get enormous satisfaction from helping
others as an assistant coach. They add great value to the classes they assist because anyone
that isn’t following along or needs help, they have someone to give them some one to
one attention. Assistant coaches help the head coach to keep the pace going in the class
by helping with demonstrations or answering questions when anyone is unsure. It’s not
just pad holding although that’s something you will do for sure, it’s also being involved
with everything from the warm-up to the very end of the session. You become like a mini
private coach for each person you spend a few minutes with, this can allow people to
ask questions and make improvements that would otherwise take longer. If there are 30 people
in a 1 hour session then your coach only has 2 minutes to share between each student, realistically
not everyone needs 1 to 1 attention all the time, but you sure do improve quicker with
it! For a coach the assistants are the essential ingredient to running busy classes, for students
the assistants are life savers in case you get confused or forget something! You can
begin by setting yourself the challenge of assisting a certain number of beginner classes
per month. Eventually as you build up extra time coaching and your confidence grows you
can increase the amount of coaching you do each month or simply increase the variety
of classes that you assist with. Help with kids and with adults, fitness training, sparring,
help on test or grading days, your experience and skill will grow together and it’s all
extremely fulfilling work. Learning a type of therapy alongside your
martial arts training is another worthy goal. It is both challenging and interesting to
learn, while also being a highly useful skill that you can earn money with. You can choose
from the likes of sports or remedial massage through to full on physiotherapy. You can
really take on a level that you are comfortable with and go from there. Any strong martial
arts team needs at least one person who can give a good massage, the difference it makes
in your recovery is so important! You can further specialise in treating combat sports
injuries by working on cuts, minor injuries in training and competition, or rehab from
major injuries. It’s all very specialised and respected work too. If you are to combine all three skills of
great pad holding, clear accurate coaching, and dealing with injuries, this puts you in
great demand for fight teams. Of course being great at one thing is better than being good
at all so specialise in your favourite choice, but these skills are not only boxing and kickboxing
related, they are super rewarding and fulfilling positions, they can also potentially take
you around the world at the highest level of combat sports, should you want to. These roads are all coaching related so I’d
like to suggest two more potential avenues for you to explore. Board and object breaking is a very personal
challenge you can train for, starting with lighter and softer targets then over time
progressing onto more dense objects. It’s a clear path of progression but one that takes
a long time to master as your body adapts and technique improves. There are some styles
that have breaking boards and so on as part of their normal syllabus and others that offer
it as extra training or reserved for demonstrations. Few people dedicate themselves to this type
of iron body training as is normal a means to an end, not an end goal in itself. But
who is to say you shouldn’t go for a world record in time? Becoming a referee or a judge is a great way
to stay active within competitive martial arts. Good judges and referees are always
needed throughout all levels of boxing and kickboxing, not to mention every other combat
sport out there! Good people in these roles are essential to keep our sports growing.
Too many times I’ve seen bad judging or poor refereeing break someone’s heart with wrong
decisions, they end up losing their love for the sport and eventually stop training altogether,
it happens to both kids and adults. Not only will you have the best seat in the house to
watch the most action but you will have a very real influence on the fair judging of
matches. You can do this all the way from local friendly amateur events through to a
full professional career, the choice is yours. If you found this video helpful then hit the
thumbs up button and please share it around. Subscribe if you’re new and hit the bell icon
to be notified of my new videos.

5 thoughts on “Martial Arts Goals That Aren’t Fighting? Martial Minutes Podcast 002 (Audio Only)

  1. My goal is to simply learn as much as I can and find out what works and what doesn’t. A guy once landed a backfist into a sidekick on me, so I’m up to trying anything

  2. The ancestors were way more tougher than pro fighters and sports athletes! I think it’s disrespectful to the ancestors by worshipping athletes and not show love and respect to your ancestors superior skills.

  3. Like you said at 4:00 using your skills to develop others can be a very rewarding experience. I did something special a few years back which still resonates with me as one of the best ways I've applied my passion/knowledge of martial arts offline… I started conversing with a homeless guy and eventually offered free martial arts training for him… I beleive this made him feel more like a "regular" member of society and gave him some added confidence, unfortunately his physical condition got worse and it became too difficult to coordinate the training, but once in a while I run into him on the streets, and I'm always greeted with a big smile. I'd like to see other martial artists who have experience instructing classes take that experience and use it by offering it for free to people who wouldn't otherwise get the chance… perhaps that means changing things up so it can be assessible for someone with limited movement or whatever. 🙂 Great podcast and great suggestions. 🙂

Leave comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *.