Learning basic self defense training is a necessity everyone needs. Some people may just be realizing this need, while others have taken seminars or studied online programs. Still there are those who dedicate two, four or even ten or more hours per week to specifically training in a given art or arts at local martial arts schools.
Therefore, wherever you find yourself on the path as a beginner or advanced practitioner, you will want to pay attention to these six “pitfalls” which can get in the way of your training and growth.
The first pitfall is to not value technique over attributes, or vice versa.
One has to envision the yin-yang balance with this point to illustrate balance. Valuing anything over the other will cause imbalance. Therefore, learning, teaching, and observing, should all be practiced in equal amounts. There will come times when a person will have to focus on one more than another, but it is only to restore balance, not throw one out of balance.
The second pitfall is developing a favorite Area of Combat.
Every practitioner seems to have their strong and weak points. One student is great at stick sparring, but has no kick boxing applications. Another is proficient at ground fighting and close quarters, but acts like a fish out of water in mass attacks and knife fighting. Everyone will have favorites (arts, moves, drills), but it is a person’s duty to not show it through their actions and abilities. Train in everything, gain experience in everything, but show commitment to nothing.
Thirdly, do not fall into the trap of focusing so much on your physical development, and not enough on developing any emotional muscle.
Seeing the results of awesome technique work, or hours of physical conditioning is easy. But illustrating the time spent meditating, training in stressful environments, and hours of visualization are not so easy to show off. Therefore, develop one’s emotional and mental muscles and use them as one’s secret weapon.
Lack of flight time is the fourth pitfall which is much too common. Even today, some think that they can watch an hour self defense training tape, and be on top of their game. Others even market that attending a daylong seminar will give them instant skills. This is similar to those get rich quick schemes. It is not so much the fact that there are not more efficient ways to make more money, for example, it is that people think that no effort is needed. The same holds true for effective video/DVD self defense programs, intense seminars, and martial arts philosophies. Some simply produce results faster, but they still require effort, sweat, and flight time.
The fifth pitfall has one getting caught up in “flavor of the month” arts or systems.
Once again, there are valuable systems out on the market, however, the focus is not to skip around from art to art, system to system, and get caught up in the hype of well marketed programs. That is one of the most beautiful things about JKD... it is not a fad, it is a time tested, credible philosophy. More so, one can apply it to any area of their life. They can use a specific concept, or they can use a general philosophy in any area of their life. Ideas go in and out of style, but the attitude which JKD has of constantly growing, will never fade.
Could having a closed mind be holding you back, because it is the last pitfall and quite honestly is the most common. Keeping an open mind is so cliché these days, and will continue to be so by people who want to keep a high social status. In their videos they talk great, in seminars they preach to keep an open mind, and even in their writings they inspire all to not be prejudice with other arts. However, if you talk to them one on one, review the last five years of their training, or creep inside their inner thoughts, one would find the exact opposite.
Can you see yourself having one or more of these? Once again, whether you are a novice or have several black belts, many of these pitfalls are cyclical. Meaning, they come and go from time to time over the lifetime of a practitioner. Being aware, and more importantly, taking action on these in advance will lead to faster growth and a happier path.