3. From Quitting to Overcoming Hurdles

3. From Quitting to Overcoming Hurdles

Mental health problems – including depression, bad nerves and anxiety – were most prevalent in the youngest age group, affecting more than a third of the 16- to 34-year-olds (36%) who were out of work due to long-term illness, according to the ONS labour force survey.

As a club, we get several parents wanting their kids to get into martial arts for whatever reasons; it usually ranges for the self-defence reasons to fitness, and confidence- and confidence tends to be a big reason since Covid (remember that bad boy - no classes for nearly 2 years!)

So begins the journey of martial arts - for whatever reason one has started. Perhaps because the young man or woman wants to do it because something piqued their interest (Cobra Kai anyone!) or they have been 'introduced' by their parents or older sibling wanting to plug in a gap in their development in this rather harsh world we are living in. We have adults wanting to join us because, for some, they realised they should have started sooner. Or things have gone bad so that they need to address their secret skeleton in the closet.

Whatever it is, we have a white belt on board 👏👏

The new kid in the block is acclimatising to the dojo and his/her new fellow martial artists and the rigour of training. It starts off easier and then naturally gets higher, then we hit the hurdle. A hurdle signifies an obstacle or challenge that needs to be overcome to progress further. It suggests that overcoming this challenge will lead to advancement in skills.

This very important part of the training is somehow lost onto the parents as

''my child is bored" 🥱

"my child isn't learning" 😱

"my son says its too hard"😤

"my child wants to focus on their homework" 🤔💭- (wasn't your child not focusing at home after 2 years of training- were you absent parenting all this time and isn't martial arts discipline not transferring at school etc and you didn't mention any of this in 2 years of training, I digress)

All these above are symptom of a disease called excusititise - the habit of making excuses for failure.

Sure, kids have exams on the way and need to focus on studies couple of months from exam to tone down their training is all understandable, but this not about that.

What we are seeing is the student of martial art has hit a hurdle in their training and the next stage of what happens is crucial for the child not only in martial arts but in their life, I kid you not.

This moment of decision of stopping training or pushing through will be make or break a child's mental toughness, mental fortitude, the mental and psychological state to see if they are quitters or survivors in this fast -paced, unforgiving and relentless world.

This moment of the child facing a hurdle is when the kid will need their parents full support, encouragement and working with the club to reach the intended goal as to why they started martial arts in the first place

This is them seeing through the breakthough training - In martial arts, the concept of "breakthrough" or "breakthrough training" is often used to describe overcoming a hurdle or a significant obstacle in training or skill development. This term signifies a moment when a practitioner achieves a new level of understanding, skill, or ability, often AFTER persistently working to overcome a challenging aspect of their training. It's a pivotal point where a practitioner moves past a barrier or limitation, leading to noticeable progress or improvement in their martial arts practice. This breakthrough could be in mastering a difficult technique, overcoming a mental block, or achieving a new level of physical fitness and capability.

The failure to overcome the above, and its aftermath, is rather devastating as explained further below.

Those parents who push on their kids to keep attending classes generally end up seeing their kids succeed 🥇

Each person has their own unique training journey, some having more hurdles and brick walls then others that need to be broken though and jumped over each time then others. Hey, to get to black belt there are at least 10 belts and stripes, did you think you're going to have one hurdle only 🤔.

The ones who quit because they failed to overcome the hurdle are very highly vulnerable to mental health issues and not being survivors in society - you can fail the hurdle, but you must keep on training and trying until you make the breakthrough - but quitting is never acceptable.

Have you seen those parents who's kids have tried every activity under the sun because their kids 'did not like it' or 'got bored of it' after a few months;

tried football⚽︎,

tried swimming🏊🏻‍♀️

tried boxing 🥊🥊

tried running, 🏃‍♀️

These kids only succeeding in running away from every hurdle they came across. (is there a sport for that because some of these kids would be Olympian gold medalist, especially with the full support at home they receive) As a parent and a responsible coach, I beg to question - what did their kids achieve in any of these activities?

Not overcoming a hurdle and choosing to quit in martial arts, or any discipline for that matter, can have several negative impacts:

  1. Stagnation: Not overcoming a hurdle and quitting can lead to a sense of stagnation in personal growth. The skill level remains at a certain point without improvement.
  2. Missed Opportunities: Quitting can result in missing out on the potential benefits of overcoming challenges, such as improved confidence, resilience, and mastery of the art.
  3. Regret: There might be feelings of regret or disappointment in oneself for not persevering through difficulties, especially if one looks back and wishes they had persisted.
  4. Loss of Progress: Any progress made before encountering the hurdle might stagnate or even regress if the training is stopped altogether.
  5. Impact on Confidence: It can impact one's self-confidence and belief in their ability to overcome challenges, which might affect other areas of life as well.
  6. Incomplete Learning: Quitting means not fully grasping the lessons that come with overcoming challenges. These lessons often extend beyond the martial art itself and can be valuable in various aspects of life.
  7. Impact on Discipline: Quitting due to a hurdle without attempting to overcome it might affect the discipline and determination needed not only in martial arts but in other endeavors as well.

It's important to recognize that encountering hurdles is a natural part of learning and growth. Overcoming them, though challenging, often brings immense personal development and rewards. However, it's also important to understand personal limits and the reasons behind quitting; sometimes, it might be necessary to reassess goals or find a different approach to continue progressing.

So what are the reward of perseverance with martial arts as a adult and as a parent who has to face each week or more of their kids moaning about quitting; (in other words, not wanting to overcome the hurdle and want you as a parent to pull them out of training with excuses):

Work Prospects:

  • Resilience and Problem-Solving Skills: Overcoming hurdles in martial arts develops resilience and problem-solving abilities. Not overcoming these hurdles might impact the ability to face challenges at work with the same determination and problem-solving mindset. Not overcoming barriers means missing out on opportunities to develop these skills. In the workplace, this might manifest as a reluctance to take on challenging tasks or difficulties in navigating complex problems without feeling overwhelmed.
  • Confidence and Self-Belief: The confidence gained from overcoming obstacles can positively influence work performance. Without this confidence, it might be challenging to take on new tasks or roles.
  • Adaptability: Overcoming obstacles fosters adaptability and the ability to adjust strategies when facing challenges. Not developing these skills might result in feeling stuck or unable to pivot when unexpected difficulties arise in the workplace.

Mental Health:

  • Self-Esteem and Self-Worth: Not overcoming barriers might impact self-esteem. Overcoming challenges often boosts self-worth, and not achieving this might lead to feelings of inadequacy or low self-esteem.
  • Frustration and Stress: Frustration from not overcoming hurdles can lead to increased stress levels, affecting mental health. It might also create a negative cycle where the fear of failure prevents further attempts at tackling challenges. Also increasing frustration and impacting mental health.

Family Life:

  • Role Modeling: Overcoming obstacles and showing resilience can be a positive example for family members, especially children. Not demonstrating perseverance might inadvertently influence family members to approach their own challenges with less determination.
  • Impact on Relationships: Frustration or stress from not overcoming hurdles might spill into family life, affecting relationships due to increased tension, mood changes, or reduced motivation.
  • Shared Values and Communication: Martial arts can instill values like discipline, resilience, and perseverance. Not overcoming hurdles might affect how these values are communicated and shared within the family, potentially impacting family dynamics.

Personal Development:

  • Character Building: Overcoming challenges builds character traits like resilience, determination, and discipline. Failing to conquer hurdles might hinder the development of these traits, impacting personal growth.
  • Goal Setting and Achievement: Martial arts often involve setting and achieving goals. Not overcoming obstacles might lead to a lack of fulfillment from not achieving these goals, affecting motivation and the ability to set and pursue objectives in other areas of life.

Social Interactions:

  • Community and Support Networks: Martial arts often involve a community of practitioners who support each other. Not overcoming hurdles might result in feeling disconnected from this community or missing out on the support it provides.
  • Teamwork and Collaboration: In martial arts training, partners or groups often work together to overcome challenges. Not engaging in this collaborative process might limit the ability to work effectively with others in different social settings.

Overall Well-being:

  • Physical Fitness: Progress in martial arts involves physical challenges and improvements. Not overcoming hurdles might lead to a plateau in physical fitness or skill, impacting overall health and well-being.
  • Sense of Fulfillment: Overcoming obstacles provides a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment. Not experiencing these victories might lead to a lack of satisfaction in one's endeavors, affecting overall life satisfaction.

Lifelong Learning:

  • Continued Growth: Martial arts are often seen as a lifelong pursuit. Not overcoming hurdles might lead to a stagnant mindset, hindering the willingness to learn and grow in other areas outside martial arts.
  • Adaptability and Flexibility: Overcoming challenges in martial arts fosters adaptability. Not facing and conquering these hurdles might reduce the ability to adapt to new situations and changes in life.

Confidence and Risk-Taking:

  • Risk Aversion: Failing to conquer obstacles might lead to increased aversion to taking risks in other areas of life. The fear of failure learned from not overcoming hurdles can limit willingness to take calculated risks.

Leadership and Decision-Making:

  • Leadership Skills: Overcoming challenges in martial arts can foster leadership qualities. Not experiencing these challenges might hinder the development of leadership skills, affecting the ability to make decisive decisions.

Time Management and Commitment:

  • Time Allocation: Martial arts training requires commitment. Not overcoming hurdles might lead to a reassessment of how time is allocated, potentially affecting dedication to other commitments and activities.

Creativity and Problem-Solving:

  • Creativity and Innovation: Overcoming obstacles often involves creative problem-solving. Failing to overcome hurdles might limit the development of innovative thinking and creative problem-solving skills in other areas.

Sense of Identity and Purpose:

  • Identity Formation: Progress in martial arts contributes to one's identity. Not overcoming hurdles might impact the sense of identity tied to martial arts achievements, affecting one's overall sense of purpose or direction in life.

Resilience in Adversity:

  • Resilience to Life's Challenges: Overcoming hurdles in martial arts teaches resilience. Failing to overcome these challenges might limit the ability to bounce back from adversities in other aspects of life.

Each of these additional areas reflects how the skills and experiences gained through overcoming hurdles in martial arts can impact various facets of an individual's life, influencing aspects related to confidence, leadership, time management, creativity, identity, and resilience in the face of life's challenges.

In summary, the impact of not overcoming obstacles in martial arts extends across various facets of an individual's life, influencing personal development, social interactions, overall well-being, and the attitude toward continuous learning and growth. These areas interconnect and collectively shape an individual's approach to challenges and achievements beyond the martial arts context.

Want to find out how to overcome the quitting habit and build resilience - book a free taster session using the contact us form

Its not easy to overcome these obstacles, those who keep trying when quitting is the easy cop-out and refuse to do so, especially the parents, you have my salute! 🫡

“Then Indeed, with difficulty there is ease. Indeed, with difficulty, there is ease,” (Chaper Ash Sharh, The Opening-Up of the Chest)

Sensei Arif Kassam

Head Coach

Al Qawi Self Defence

25th December 2023 (Yes, I did this on Xmas Day)

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