I always need a goal. I know this about myself. I have never been one to just work out to work out. While my favorite goal involves martial arts and fitness, I have also completed a few triathlons, a marathon with my mother in Dublin, Ireland (for the Arthritis Foundation), a 109 mile bike ride in Tucson, AZ (raising over $30,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society with my team), obstacle course races, CrossFit competitions, many martial arts rank tests, and even ballroom dancing competitions. For me, having a goal, and a plan to reach that goal, is what keeps me on track and accountable. And then the benefits of “looking good”, “being in shape”, etc, take care of themselves while I am working toward my goal of accomplishing some physical challenge.
This is why, as a martial arts school owner, instructor and practitioner, I love the martial arts for adult fitness. The goals are already built into the system. In many modern schools, there is a clearly defined path of short term goals and long term goals. You can clearly see your path to success. You start as a White Belt, you gain a certain amount of proficiency at that level, you test, and move on to the next belt. This process repeats itself over and over in a multi-year quest to reach Black Belt and then beyond Black Belt to higher degrees. All the while, you are becoming stronger, leaner, more flexible, and improving balance as well as agility.
The hardest part of walking into a martial arts school is the actual walking into a martial arts school. The thought of it can be intimidating. Thoughts such as, “Am I too out of shape to do this?”, “Am I too old to start something new?”, “Am I going to get hurt?”, and on and on. Then there is the question of which martial art and more granularly, which school in my area? It is a lot. There are a lot of options. I always say, the martial art doesn’t matter as much as the school, the instructors, and whether you are comfortable there. That is only partly true however. For example, if you don’t want to roll around on the ground with a bunch of sweaty people then MMA or jiu-jitsu may not be for you. And if you do, then it might be perfect for you. If you want to stretch, and work on balance, and train your mind by memorizing forms, Taekwondo might be perfect for you. The best way to find out is to go try (or at least observe) a class. And if you can bring someone along with you, you will feel more comfortable in this foreign place. When you actually walk into several different martial arts schools, you will notice that they are all VERY different. And it is not just the arts that are different. It is the instructors, the atmosphere, the philosophy, the community, the “vibe”. And all of that combines to make each school unique.
Although it might take a few visits or trial lessons at a few different schools (a good way to learn a lot about a school before trying it out is researching their website and social media accounts), when you find “the one”, you will know. And then, the journey begins. Commit to a goal. A stellar goal is earning a Black Belt. When you do reach that goal you will find that you are probably in the best shape of your life, you are mentally and physically strong and balanced and have made some lifelong friends along the way.
If you would like to learn more about our program specifically, feel free to check us out at: http://www.belmarmartialarts.com