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If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!

People don't start martial arts by accident. Everyone has a reason, as will you. Don't go into it unprepared though. One of the very first things you should do is set goals for yourself and what it is you expect to achieve by studying martial arts.

Don't think that all people taking martial artist are doing it because they want to become Bruce Lee or something dramatic like that. The benefits of martial arts are endless as you will see. Make sure you are armed with the knowledge to take advantage of them.

Having never participated in martial arts will only make setting a goal that much more difficult. So read our 5 step method for success in martial arts.

martial arts goals

And in life!

Assess your Martial Arts Needs:


First things first, determine what your goal for starting martial arts is. You've probably already figured this part out but it helps to spend some time here and really analyze why you are considering martial arts and whether or not it is what you need.

Write down the reason(s) you are starting martial arts so you can take a look at them. Number them in order of what is most important to you. Everyone has their own personal reasons for starting martial arts. But only you can be the best judge of why you are starting a journey into martial arts. It's all about what you want and why you want it.

Here is a list of some of the top reasons many people start training martial arts:

  • Physical Fitness
  • Self-defense
  • Stress Reduction
  • Recent Martial Arts Popularity
  • Sport Competition.
  • A new hobby.
  • Interest in Martial Arts Culture.

Set A Goal:


Ok, so you've decided what it is you want from martial arts.

Now you have to decide how to get it.

This could involve any number of different ideas. It will be up to what you and your instructor decide ultimately. And don't underestimate this resource. Martial arts instructors are typically very knowledgable when it comes to helping their students set and meet goals. Talk to them, they will help you.

It will help though, if you approach them having an idea of what it is you want to do. This will depend on what your goal is. Here is some food for thought to help you get started:

  • How many times a week will you train?
  • How much weight do you want to lose?
  • Would you like to compete in tournaments?
  • What belt rank do you expect to reach?
  • Are you looking to make freinds?
  • What forms and katas insterest you?
  • Are you interested in weapons training? Which ones interest you?

Does your goal suit your needs?:


What does this mean?

Once you have determined what your ultimate goal is, you have to take a realistic look at it. One of three things will happen at this point.

You will decide whether your goal:

  • Will not help you meet your expectations.
  • Is right on target.
  • Is too hard for you to obtain.
Remember: If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.

If you underestimate what it will take to meet your needs, and set your goal too low you will spend a lot of time spinning your wheels and wondering why you aren't successful. You will find that you are easily reaching the goal you have set for yourself, but you aren't seeing the results that you expected.

Remember, it's no secret that people that are successful push themselves and work for their accomplishments. You are not exempt from this. Set a goal that will require effort. Otherwise, you will be cheating yourself out of a genuine feeling of accomplishment once you reach your goals.

The same rule applies to making your goal unrealistic and having expectations that you are unable to meet. Now, this doesn't mean that you should be discouraged from setting a high standard from yourself. There is nothing wrong with pushing yourself to succeed. However, it would be unrealistic for example, to expect to lose 150 pounds in your first 6 months of training. Not reaching your goals can lead to a lack of confidence, frustration, defeat, and ultimately failure.

One way to avoid this is to set your goals in stages. Make a timeline or create certain milestones for yourself. Don't try to do it all at once. This will help you create a sense of accomplishment as you reach each marker that you've set.

Choose the best martial art style for you:


Once you have determined what it is you wish to gain from martial arts, you need to choose the martial art style that will be your best fit. Since each martial art offers it's own unique style and training methods, knowing which one will provide you with what you need is very important. Take some time here to do your research.

Are you looking for weight loss and exercise only?

Perhaps a cardio-kickboxing style would be best for you.

Are you looking to compete and fight in no-holds-barred matches?

You will probably want to consider brazilian jiu-jitsu and mma instruction.

No matter what it is that you are looking to gain from martial arts instruction, it is important that you take the time to pick the right martial art.

For a more comprehensive review of each martial art style, visit our martial arts styles page. There you will find a list of martial arts styles and complete descriptions of each style including videos, benefits, and history.

Last But Not Least...


Give effort, believe, and follow through.

Now it is up to you. You've assessed your needs. Determined and set your goal. You've decided that it is a manageable goal and now all that is left is for you to put in the effort, believe in yourself, and follow through with your goal.

If you don't put in the personal effort, you are just wasting time. So many people participate in martial arts and other programs because they feel that simply "showing up" is enough.

It's not.

If you are going to spend your time doing something, you might as well do it your best. Otherwise, what exactly are you doing?

Answer: Under-achieving and wasting time reaching your potential.

Is this what you want for yourself? Well, that's your decision.

You will also need to believe in yourself. Never stop doing this. Remember our motto from the homepage?

"The hardest belt in martial arts is the white belt. Nothing is harder than that first step."

Keep in mind that you will be doing things you've never done before. There will be a learning curve. Don't be afraid to fail. The more you try, and fail, the better and sooner you will learn. Don't let pride get in the way, don't let defeat set in. You will succeed. Just believe.