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The Importance of Commitment

Commitment or rather... perseverance as it may also be referred to in this instance, is one of the major contributing factors to achieving success in any field.  Whether striving for a world title, looking to achieve your black belt or simply entering into any environment that involves us having to put ourselves out above and beyond the norm, involves a certain amount of commitment and perseverance.

Take marriage as one of the biggest examples of commitment that we can enter into.  According to statistics, one in three marriages end in divorce and the majority of these divorces take place within the first 4 years.  Compare this with the martial art world where according to statistics, the majority of adult students will have quit within the first ninety days, and those that make it past this point very rarely continue past their first year.

The unfortunate truth is that in this fast paced, modern day world in which we live, anything that now takes a considerable amount of time or effort to achieve can be seen as too much hard work.  We all have our dreams; the big house, the Ferrari on the drive, the six pack; however, the sad fact is that the vast majority of us never actually achieve any of this because of the effort that’s involved in doing so.

It is much easier to get up, go and work in a job that, to be honest the vast majority of us don’t really enjoy, come home, watch TV or go down the pub each night, and then go to bed, only to do it all again the next day.  The effort involved in breaking that routine and doing something else to relieve the monotony of life and possibly even achieve something quite incredible can be too much effort and hard work for some.

Achieving a Black Belt in a martial art brings with it more than just the ability to fight or defend yourself.  It also brings with it a whole host of qualities that say something about the individual and brings about the starting point for the realization that you can actually achieve anything you want in life with a bit of hard work and commitment (ask me all about this point of you don’t believe it!).  The majority of people that start a martial art, however, rarely achieve this sought after rank because they quit early on and although their excuse for quitting may appear genuine to them, in reality, if we want something badly enough, there’s always a way – you just have to find it.

Ask yourself this question... how many friends do you have that hold a Black Belt in a martial art (by friends I mean people that you socialise with on a regular basis)?  I would guess that although you may know of a few people that you may occasionally socialise with i.e. instructors and students at the Christmas night out, the actual answer to the question is, very few.

The amount of work, commitment, dedication and persistence involved in studying a martial art and achieving a Black Belt (and these are just a few of the qualities) are so considerable and involve such hard work that most of us would rather quit than see it through.  For the few that do make it, however, the end result is far worth the effort.

Unfortunately for the less committed (and I do believe this to be a good thing), the would be martial artist cannot take performance enhancing drugs and cheat their way to a Black Belt as can so easily be done in other sports.  To achieve a high level in martial arts takes knowledge, experience, understanding and ability brought about through commitment and perseverance and once developed, these two qualities can carry you forward and help you to achieve anything you want in life – including your dreams.

So many times I bump into people that used to do martial arts with me in the past and at some point during our conversation they always say, ‘I wish I had stuck at it now’.  Despite there being no written rule to say they can’t return, none of them ever do and they continue living the life they have chosen to live until I bump into them again at some point in the future and we inevitably have the same conversation.

Anyone just starting out in martial arts, or anyone thinking of starting (or anyone thinking of quitting for that matter) understand that you are embarking on an incredible journey that has the potential to change your life for ever.  Although you may not realise this now, and the only reason you are starting a martial art is because you liked the fight scene in the latest blockbuster you just saw and you would like to be able to kick ass like that too, it’s not quite that easy and it will take a lot of hard work – but in the end it’s definitely worth the effort!

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