Category Archives: martial arts training


So, you have decided to ‘get into Taekwondo training’. Well that’s great!

If you have never previously trained in taekwondo what made you think of starting now?

Was it perhaps seeing the exciting high kicks or jumping kicks, the ability to protect yourself, maybe just to lose weight, get fit and look good.

Actually; the reason you begin doesn’t really matter, what actually matters is, why you stay!

Training can ‘get into your blood’, you learn to love it, you work hard, train and sweat, you get tired and you continue to train, you push yourself and push some more, you look back on what you have accomplished and are happy and pleased with yourself. It’s that feeling of accomplishment that makes you pleased with yourself. You practice at home going through patterns or bag work and look forward to the next training session from your instructor. Maybe you must miss a training session and although there’s a genuine reason why, you still feel terrible… welcome to the team, you are becoming a martial artist.

There are millions of taekwondo practitioners throughout the world, some stay on the ‘surface’ and just have a workout, they enjoy the sweat and fight feeling but don’t go into it enough to allow the art to get into them.

All genuine martial artists get as deeply in to it as they can, there are of course many reasons for not being able to train as much as you would wish, sometimes ‘life gets in the way’ but for committed taekwondo students there doesn’t seem to be too many ‘compelling’ reasons not to train.

I hope you are one of the committed few.






Training is training, right? Wrong. There is more to training than just doing the moves that you’re accustomed to.

In order to get more out of your martial arts training, you’re going to have to give more to it. That’s just how life works. Here are five truly helpful ways to give more to your training.

1. Enjoy the adrenaline

Soak up the adrenaline that comes with training. That boost that you get from doing serious physical activity, embrace it! Don’t shy away from the positive rush that you get from your classes, embrace it. That embrace will propel you forward to doing more and being a better martial artist. Though there is always a sense of control in training in the martial arts, the raw power that derives from the adrenaline push can help you with intensity and even with focus.


Adrenaline is a fight or flight hormone that heightens your senses and sharpens your mind, but many martial artists cut themselves off from those benefits and try to tamp down the high that comes with training in favor of a stiffness and rigidity. Don’t!

2. Think about emotions

Something that we don’t often talk about is that martial arts is an emotional journey, and how often emotions can get in the way of getting the most out our training. Take stock of what you’re feeling and address any lingering issues that might be keeping you from doing more.


For all that we say about being brave and taking control, in the martial arts we often find that we are afraid of our feelings. Bottling it all up and ignoring it clouds the mind and keeps you from getting the most out of your training.

3. Give 1% more

Commit to giving an extra one percent to each class. This is a concept that will build on itself, and eventually you’ll find that you’re giving way more than you thought you ever could! Each class, give just one percent more than you gave to your last session, pushing yourself harder but within reason. Imagine if you did this over the course of a year!

4. Put blinders on

Martial arts class isn’t socialization time or workout time, it’s training time. Though there are certainly social benefits to training in martial arts, and though many people find life long friendships at the dojo, during training you need to focus on training. It’s common for the social excitement to run away with folks that the dojo, but putting those blinders back on and refocusing is often a huge boost for martial artists.

5. Don’t miss class

This one seems to go without saying, but it’s really worth repeating – don’t miss class! Even one missed class is a problem in terms of the continuity of your training, because it breaks your rhythm. Just don’t do it. Regular training is the key to success.


On a related note, train as often as you can. Though you certainly want to avoid burnout, in terms of training more is more. If you can pick up an extra class per week or attend a seminar, you’re going to find that your performance increases dramatically.


We all work so hard to train and to improve our skills, but it can really be the little tweaks that really boost us to the next level as martial artists. Give just a little more to your practice and you’ll get exponential rewards!


The world champion boxer Evander Holyfield once said…

“The main thing about Bruce Lee is that, he was a little guy. And you know, his quickness, his aggressiveness, his explosive power, you have to be a great athlete to have all these. His body, his look – all these things have to do with discipline and structure. He was able to go against the biggest guy, regardless of who he was.”

Structure and discipline in the martial arts are two sides of the same coin, two things that work together to make it all happen. These are foundational principles, things that are necessarily part of the process.

Structure Leads to Discipline

How do we create discipline in the lives of students in the martial arts? The answer is through structure. That means building a framework for students to work through that offers support for students.


Structure in martial arts comes from:

  • Clear expectations
  • Firm boundaries
  • Strong communication
  • Fixed routines
  • Repetition
  • Physical engagement
  • Instructor integrity
  • Safety in activities

Great martial arts schools have these things in common, and it’s through the careful scaffolding of training that discipline becomes an inner drive that pushes students beyond just what they’re doing on the training floor. That’s not to say that schools have to yell or be nasty to grow successful students – just the opposite. A solidly structured environment is all that’s needed to foster discipline. In fact, when a dojang environment (or any environment in fact) is well structured, there is no need for harsh punishments as there is little room for anyone to step out of place.

The Great Equalizers

Structure and discipline are the great equalizers in martial arts, allowing everyone to participate not only to the fullest of their ability, but also to challenge others who are perceived to be bigger, stronger or faster than they are. With proper structure and discipline, everyone has the potential to take on opponents that they never thought possible.

Women can learn to defend themselves against threats of bigger and stronger attackers. Children can find out that they do indeed have the power to stand up to others who are more powerful than they are physically. The little guy is not less powerful than the big guy – it only takes the right mould to transform their ability to take on the unknown and seemingly impossible.

Just as Bruce Lee was able to mould his body in amazing ways through structured training and discipline, so too does every person who walks into the door of a great martial arts school have the potential to transform themselves through structure and discipline.

The world is a wide and wild place to live. It doesn’t come with an instruction manual, nor does it come with very clear boundaries. What martial arts offers is a method through which individuals can make sense of how to navigate emotions, physicality, social interaction and self-control. That’s what makes the discipline that comes with martial arts so powerful. It’s not because of some magical essence of taekwondo or karate, rather it happens when good structure that leads to proper discipline are part of the training experience.