Many practitioners and instructors focus more on what they’re practicing than on how they’re practicing, but setting up a system for success matters a lot. Professors Dunn and Glick talk to one of his martial arts student who’s seen both sides, and shares his thoughts about sustainable training.
Most systems just turn on and off. But your body and mind have a lot of switches that have to be flipped with care. We hear that vitamin C is good for us, so we start taking 10,000 units a day, and in the process we train our bodies to throw off huge amounts of vitamin C. Eventually, we forget or get tired of taking the huge doses but in the meantime, our bodies keep getting rid of huge amounts of vitamin C until it’s totally gone. By forgetting about the effect of overdoing, we cause the very thing we were seeking to avoid: a vitamin deficiency and poor health.
Sometimes in the effort to learn more as fast as possible, new martial arts students want immediate results without considering the longer arc of their experience. It’s easy to forget that both the body and mind need time to adjust…and that there’s no way to cram for long-term success. Before long, they grow tired or bored or get injured, and end up back where they started – unable or unwilling to continue their training.
When you “turn on” any system, set the controls correctly. Create a sustainable practice. Sometimes even the best-running system needs maintenance to keep it from running itself into the ground.
I did not write this article, but it is true that lots of students expect too much in a short period of time. Unfortunately the people decide to quit and never get the full benefit of they’re martial arts training.