It occurred to me the other day that my son has been in Martial Arts more of his life, than he has been without it. To clarify, he started taking classes at 4 years old, and he is almost 11 now. So the first 4 years of his life, although he watched a lot of Bruce Lee and tagged along with me to coaching events, he didn’t actually participate in anything organized. The 6 years after that, he had actively taken classes and competed as a martial artist. He has done more wrestling tournaments than I can count, he has done at least 20 grappling tournaments, and he has 10 pankration fights. So his wealth of actual experience is already impressive. When I was growing up, there were some karate tournaments, scattered wrestling tournaments, and that was pretty much it as far as martial arts competitions went. The thought just reiterated that martial arts needed to be where they are today.
The ranking systems in traditional martial arts give people a goal. Karate black belts were revered by all who knew of their status. When I was a kid, getting that black belt was all I cared about. I would do whatever tasks the instructor gave me.
I would study my kata harder than I would study for school.
It was important to me. Would I be any better the day I received my black belt than the day before when I was still a brown belt? No, but my status would change to everyone around me and I could brag about my accomplishment at every opportunity. People, especially kids, need to measure their progress by accomplishing goals. How much more clear could it be than a belt ranking system. Your accomplishments are very specific in these terms. Goal setting is the first step toward successful goal achievement. It marks your first point toward success. It is what puts your life into real and measureable action.
The main reasons for setting goals can be obvious to us all. It gives us clarity on our end vision. If we believe it, we can achieve it. Goals drive us forward and keep us from looking back. We have to accomplish tiny mini goals to achieve big goals. That one move of a kata we can’t perfect takes time and effort so we must accomplish that before we can do the entire kata. This gives us laser focus. Laser focus on small tasks is what gives us the accomplished goal endgame. One of the best reasons for setting goals is that it holds us accountable. If we say we are going to do something, and we aren’t working towards it, there are consequences. If we have consequences, we are accountable. In conclusion, we should set goals in anything we do, but in Martial Arts it is almost mandatory.