In this episode, Jeremy talks about why people struggle with sustaining long-term goals and what we might do about it.
Why People Struggle with Unending Pursuits Like Martial Arts – Episode 229
Many of us are eager to start something that would be beneficial – like a nutrition program. We want to be healthy and all that but how many of us actually go a long way through the program? In martial arts, practitioners seem to be fixated on the goal of getting that black belt and then they’re done. Martial arts should be a life-long pursuit and not just a black belt goal. Listen to Jeremy and join the discussion!
You can read the transcript below or download here.
Hey how is it going everybody? Welcome to whistlekick martial arts radio episode 229 today, we’re going to talk about why people struggle with continuing activities that don’t have end points which relates to the massive draw bout in the martial arts. When people receive their black belt. If you’re new to the show my name is Jeremy Lesniak I’m your host here for the show. I’m the founder of whistlekick sparring gear and apparel and you can check out everything we do at whistlekick.com. I want to thank you for tuning in today, thank you for sharing some of your time with my voice and I hope you’re having a great day. If you haven’t checked out what we do online I would encourage you to do so in fact we are constantly stepping everything we do and over the last couple of months we have brought on additional help with our social media. Some of you that follow us may have seen that the caliber of what we’re putting out there is even better than it was. I’m proud of what we were doing but to be honest I was doing almost all of it and I don’t have a ton of time. Nor am I necessary the most creative person so we took a look we found somebody and she’s doing a fantastic job so check us out on Instagram, Facebook, twitter those are our 3 main places and we’re at whistlekick at all of those spots. If you want a little bit more kind of behind the scenes stuff you can check out the Facebook group for this show whistlekick martial arts radio behind the scenes, it’s a private group but we’ll let you in just request it. Do a search on Facebook, you’ll find it it’ll come right up.
I was having a conversation with someone the other day and we were just kind of kicking back and forth on nutrition and don’t worry this is going to tie in. We were talking about why it’s so challenging for so many people to stick with a nutrition program. I don’t want to call it a diet cause a diet implies that it’s temporary and restrictive but why people have such a hard time eating the way they know they should indefinitely and why so many of the same people are able to get really really strict for a limited period of time you know these 30day health challenges. All these things that pop up you’ve probably seen them on social media if you go to a gym maybe you see them there. They’re popular and they’re effective but they don’t last. There are all these studies showing that people that compete in quote unquote healthy sports like body building show how unhealthy they become when they no longer have the karat of competition and I think you can draw similar corollary to martial arts, to martial arts training. A lot of people do really well training for a competition or earning their first-degree black belt and then they draw a bout, why? It’s because as human beings we seem to struggle with doing things that don’t have to find end points. It seems like we have a harder and harder time as our lives gets busier as the world gives us more distractions more things to consume our time. More places that we can invest in ourselves or in other people. It’s a chaotic world there’s a lot going on. It can be easy to buckle down to say when I do this my life will be better, when I have accomplished this. When I’ve reached that goal how my body looks or I’ve established some confidence in that new technique or I put that black belt around my waist, but that’s not really how life is, is it? And I think inherently we all know that as martial artists maybe we get it even a little bit better but we’re just as guilty of it.
You’ve probably heard people talk about certain goals in this way you know I’ve got to buckle down I’ve got to get this done, I’ve got to earn my degree in this, I’ve got to get this promotion at work and the reality is if you really want to dig in to it these people are chasing happiness. We’re trying to say that once this thing happens, once this change occurs in life, I’m going to be happier. The reality all of the studies all of the philosophical writings on this, act if you’re really honest with yourself, your own experience, that’s not how it works happiness rarely occurs from achieving something. The happiness really seems to come from the belief that that will change. I’m sure there’s happiness in the moment and for some period of time after, but as human beings we get used to where we’re at. It’s a great thing that we’re always looking for more, we’re trying to improve and get better. Those are wonderful things but the association of happiness with those goals, that’s not the reality. Unfortunately, as martial artists, as a community for decades, we’ve put out there that black belt is this pinnacle. Of course, we all know there’s more after that, there’s continued knowledge and additional ranks and maybe even training at another school in another style. You all know my feelings on that, we need to change the messaging. We need to stop telling the world that black belt is this end point. We need to stop telling our students that black belt is this magical door. There’s a lot of mystery, there’s a lot of secret kind of vibe that comes with having a black belt and some schools in my original school the black belt test was not only not discussed but no one was allowed to watch it. It was the people conducting the test and the testing candidate which were almost always individual. In fact, in the let’s see 206, 14 years that I trained at that school there was only one test that had multiple people and it’s just two.
Over the last few episodes, you’ve heard me talk about a lot of the way we essentially market martial arts to the world to our own students, to ourselves. I think we’re deluding ourselves, this idea that black belt is this be all end all clearly is not the case but it’s hard to know that unless you’re on the other side of it. When you’re a white belt when you’re a yellow belt and you look at the black belts in the front of the room or at least in front of you, they seem to know so much, they are so much better at everything that happens than you. So, you look at them and you say okay, black belt that’s it, that’s the definition of success within the martial arts. In most schools, black belt is the last color sometimes there are stripes, sometimes black is met with other colors on the belt but it’s still a black belt, it’s a black belt with other colors. I’m not going to say I have the answer, but I feel this is the reason. We identify the reason maybe we can change it together. My first suggestion and this comes from other conversations with other folks, is trying to detach the praise the validation of success within martial arts training even at younger ages and younger ranks from rank to reframe the way that we look at teaching others and identify and reword individual successes even on a smaller basis to recognize effort in ways other than stripes or new colors. To recognize that the process itself this personal development thing that we call martial arts to recognize that it in of itself is worthy of our time of our effort, sweat blood tears aches pains bruises broken bones, that’s the message we need to tell to our students. That’s the message we need to share with the rest of the world. Martial arts in and of itself regardless of rank is worthwhile. Of course, we need to believe that ourselves. I think most of us do, I’m going to guess most of you listening to this show do because this is the kind of vibe that we put out in this show. That didn’t resonate with you? you probably would’ve stopped listening already.
I’m not saying that what I’m suggesting is easy or that it’s going to happen overnight or honestly even over the course of a few years this is an entrenched belief that we’ve put out to the wide world and it’s going to take a lot of time to change. It starts on an individual basis, make sure that you are training for the right reasons and if you’re struggling to find those reasons take a step back, take a look at yourself take a look at your training, talk to others. Email me firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m still able to respond to every email I get that’s on the side we’re getting to the edge but I can still do it. If you’re an instructor make sure that the way you’re conducting your classes the way that you are educating your students that you’re building value in the process not just value in rank, not just value in the awards that come from competition. If enough of us do that, things will shift.
I hope I got your wheels turning, hopefully you’re thinking about this, you’re considering some of the things that I’m saying and hopefully you have stuff to add to it. Feel free to reach out, you can email me, you can reach out to us on social media, it’ll get to me @whistlekick. You can comment at the show notes whistlekickmartialartsradio.com this is episode 229 you can jump in on the Facebook group I guess on social media. At the end of the day I really hope that you’ll consider what I’m saying here, otherwise we will continue to have all of those people strive for black belt and then drop out and say I used to do martial arts. I got my black belt, why did you stop oh I don’t know. I don’t think a lot of them fully get it. With that I shall leave you to ponder, hope to see you here next time on whistlekick martial arts radio until then, until next time train hard smile and have a great day.