How to Be a Good Student in the Martial Arts

There are many ways to be a “good” student, but the most important ones have nothing to do with skill (although having good skill is very important).

The key areas I am going to cover are your; Attitude, Effort, Consistency (in attendance), Consistency (in training) Punctuality and Perseverance. These are the main things I look for from students when I am thinking about who are my “top” students.

Showing a great attitude is not always easy, but says a lot about your character. I always tell students that it is easy to have a great attitude when you are in a good mood, but much harder when things are not going your way. Attitude is your outlook towards others and situations. Having a good attitude is the sign of a high belt, and a winner. On the flip side, a bad attitude is someone who complains, makes excuses, or does not exert themselves. A person with a good attitude always looks for the best in others, themselves and tries their best. Someone with a good attitude will always be more fun to be around and have more friends.

Great effort (working hard) shows that you care about yourself because you know that is the only way you will accomplish anything. It doesn’t matter what you try hard at (Soccer, Math, Taekwondo, Video Games), if you put in great effort, you will get better. Desire is the first step to success, then great effort must be put in to accomplish anything worth while.

Consistency in attendance is the only way to consistently improve. If you take time off from class you are taking time off from getting better. When you make something a priority, you will do it consistently. And when you do it consistently, you will then see results. I tell students that eating a salad doesn’t make you healthy, but doing it everyday would go a long way.

Consistency in training is no different. You can show up to 1000 classes, but without working hard consistently, you may not progress the way you would like.

Punctuality is a good habit for all situations, and shows respect for everyone’s time (including your own). If you aren’t sure what that means, Punctuality means being on time.

Perseverance is the only way to achieve Black Belt Excellence. No one will achieve this level without having to persevere through some rough times and the farther you go with something, the more persevering you’ll need to do (12th grade is much harder than 7th grade). As the saying goes “if it were easy, everyone would have done it.”