If you are someone who grew up watching films like The Karate Kid, chances are at some point in your life you wanted to be able to do the crane kick on that teacher who kept tormenting you in school. Some of you might have even tried and got kicked out of school (but we will never know that cause you probably will never tell), but the point is, we all want to be cool and hardcore and just rock that “bad” attitude. However, training in any form of martial arts is not as easy as it looks like in the movies. It’s a continuous process that transforms you as a person if you manage to stick to it. So, if you’ve been considering taking lessons, here are 7 things you should know about training yourself before you dive into it.
1. It’s never like in the movies.
You will never come out of a fight with perfect hair and un-smudged makeup. Real life situations are rarely as elegant and cool as they portray in the movies. So don’t hope that you will be the lanky guy who magically beats up 20 guys at once and gets away with one small cut on your forehead (which the heroine will patch up). You will probably be the guy who wakes up in the hospital and can’t remember how to pee.
2. It takes time and dedication
Sure, being able to kick some 6 feet tall guy in the face is immensely cool. But you won’t get there in a day. It takes consistency, dedication, hard work, time and patience to throw a proper kick. If you don’t believe me, try doing a complete middle split right now. It will hurt, you won’t be able to do it. Neither can most white belts and some coloured belts. But if you push through the pain and keep doing it, you will eventually get there. Slowly, but surely.
3. It is a pretty effective way to lose weight
Hold your horses, girls. Training in full contact Karate or any form of martial art will not give you a zero figure. You need to starve yourself for that. However, if you watch your diet a little, training will help you lose weight. Since strength training is a large part of any training regime, you will gain muscle mass, and it will help you improve your metabolism. Long story short, you will burn more calories by mere breathing if you train regularly. An excellent reason to start training, right?
4. It will hurt. A LOT.
There are “martial arts” out there that give out black belts as quota protesters get hit. But if you’re training yourself in forms like Shinkyokushin (Kyokushin) (google that), training will be excruciating. You will be kicked and punched and stepped on (literally. Your teacher will stand on your stomach), and it does not end there. The easiest drill in a regular training session is skipping 1000 times in under 5 minutes. Let that sink in. You will be bruised and battered and moving will get hard at times. There’s no way to sugarcoat it. Training is hard. And it hurts.
5. BUT your body will change.
If training is so hard and it hurts so much, why do people do it? Because it changes your body. Every inch of you will be brimming with strength if you keep pushing your boundaries. Your knuckles will bleed, your shinbone will hurt, your stomach and outer thighs will be blue from all the kicks and punches, but within a few months, it will stop hurting. And you will notice the difference. You just have to stick it out until then.
6. You will feel like giving up.
Human beings are lazy. We rarely want to go through any hardship to get what we want. There is a possibility that you have already given up on your plans of getting 23 black belts. And you haven’t even started training yet. So imagine how an average white belt student feels for the first few months. After all, it is easy to quit and keep eating, isn’t it?
7. But if you DON’T, you will be reborn
I am going to use this cliché and overused metaphor here- if you don’t give up on your training, you will be reborn like a Phoenix. You will be someone who has been through hell and back, and it will make you a better person. You will be quicker on your feet, you will have excellent stamina, you will be strong and flexible and hardcore. You will also be more disciplined, more hardworking, and gentler. Training in martial arts makes you a better human being- inside and out. And that’s why people do it.
Do you feel like kicking some butts yet, brother?