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Why do students quit at brown belt? Part 2

brown belt clip art with post title

“Brownbeltitis”

Our post “Why do students quit at brown belt” received quite a few clicks. It’s a topic that deserves some more insight and discussion. So here is our Part 2 which offers a cool scientific explanation.

Fear of the known

So many people don’t like the word fear. It somehow denotes inadequacy. Quite the contrary, fear can be very helpful in some instances. Fear of driving too fast – because you might lose control. Fear of crossing a busy intersection – because you have a greater chance of being hit. I’m not referring to phobias; just ordinary, daily fears. And those are the ones we can readily admit to. It’s universal – those are healthy fears.

Fear of failure

Then there is fear of failure. That’s the one that will make a brown belt quit, and many times, won’t admit to this fear. Black belt tests can be long and physically and mentally demanding. When a student is afraid of sparring, for example, sometimes that becomes projected onto the instructor for “not partnering me up fairly”. If a student is not proficient in required techniques this can quickly turn into  “sudden symptoms of injury” that would prompt a medical note to cease training. This is the fear that can almost be referred to as ironic. Aren’t the martial arts supposed to instill self-confidence and courage?  This is the one that needs involvement with the parents, the instructors, teachers and the student. It’s important to keep asking and probing. Be realistic and don’t promise outcomes. The focus should be on the insignifigance of failing if a true effort has been made. The best thing about failing is knowing what you need to work on!

When a student has passed test after test, has learned and grown, even prospered in their martial arts training, why would fear of failure suddenly take such a strong hold? It’s true that black belt tests are meant to test technique, but more important is the spirit and drive the student demonstrates to earn a coveted rank. If you can discover the underlying fear of failure ( sometimes evident as anger at everyone and everything ) you have the opportunity to change a person’s perspective for life.

Fear of success

As a martial arts student and teacher for over 28 years I can tell you I have heard many, many excuses from brown belts for quitting. While I was training as a colored belt there were three other females my own age and belt rank. We all made it to brown belt and all trained hard together. But one by one our group of four became a group of one; me!

The first friend to quit blamed everybody and everything. From inconvenient class times to injuries, she began to let us know that she didn’t need a test to be as good as a “black belt.” And she was gone.

Friend number two was at the top of her training for the years leading up to brown belt. She was devoted and interested. Things changed when she earned brown belt. She didn’t feel our teacher was giving her good training. ( So – it was great for three years, but now it’s not?) She said she was going to another dojo to train. She didn’t. Quit at brown belt.

The last friend in the group not only had Brownbeltitis, she was a classic example of Imposter Syndrome.

Individuals with “Impostor Syndrome” tend to suffer from a very specific self-esteem issue: The belief that they are unworthy of success. -PsychTests

Imposter Syndrome

This is a real thing and one of the most relevant statements I read is this:

…the more success “impostors” experience, the more pressure they feel because of the increased responsibility and visibility.     – inc.com

Martial arts are known for their heirarchys and expectations of advanced students. What once seemed like an unachievable goal – earning black belt – is now closer than ever for brown belts. Brown belts are looked up to by younger students because of the role they play in the heirarchy. But brown belts are still a part of the “under belts” community. This community is comfortable and known to the brown belt.

And then comes the once elusive rank of black belt. Achieving a black belt is a huge accomplishment and seen as a big success, especially from your peers. Success can mean stepping into a new role with more responsibility, and more eyes watching.

That last friend I mentioned was living in the wreckage of her future. She had forgotten all the long training sessions, the thank-you’s she received for helping students and the hard-work we all put into reaching our goals. In her mind, becoming a black belt was not achieving a life-long dream anymore. It had become a success she was afraid to achieve.

If I knew then what I know now, I’m confident she would have been testing right beside me!

Get it done.

Links for your consideration

Inspiration: Courage 

Inspired by the “F” word

Why do students quit at brown belt?

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Is kata, or form, important to martial arts training?

What is kata?

Simply speaking, kata is a choreographed series of movements against an imaginary opponent. In Americanized styles of martial arts you will hear kata referred to as “form”.  In our style we speak English and our kicks, stances, punches and techniques have Americanized names.  This does not change the execution, simply the command given and the name of the form.

Forms are memorized and practiced over and over. The beginner form, or White Belt Form, puts together 3 techniques into a basic combination. As students are more proficient in their training, the forms for each belt become more difficult and demand more intensity.

How does practicing forms help a martial artist in their training?

This is where the topic becomes a little argumentative. Critics  claim that forms are an antiquated waste of time.  Citing they are not practical for self-defense, and certainly play no part in sparring. As mentioned above, forms are a choreographed series of movements against an imaginary opponent. Real and effective defense cannot be learned from an imaginary opponent!

On the contrary, the argument for teaching and learning forms involves a physical and mental aspect. In addition to a solid curriculum of effective self-defense skills involving karate and BJJ, sparring and grappling, we teach forms at every level in a student’s training; from beginner to expert levels.

Reasons forms are an integral part of our training

  • Forms are executed alone, or with a group. The timing, or cadence, should remain the same every time. However, if one student falls behind, all students wait for him or her to catch up. It teaches how to be supportive.
  • Forms are taught in segments, and broken down to the simplest level for the newest student. This means that the rest of the group learns at the pace of the lowest ranking student. Teaching patience is great character building.
  • Students are required to hold positions that are physically demanding. Seeing muscles begin to shake from pushing our bodies to their limits builds our minds and our bodies.
  • Combinations of kicks, blocks and strikes found throughout forms further serve to strengthen our muscle memory for use in sparring and self-defense.
  • Forms  executed properly generate an intensity and focus that does not allow for interference. You enter a zone of full mind and body control. After you’ve done a 3-minute form, you’re drenched in sweat and want to do it again even sharper.  It is an awesome workout for every inch of your body. Improved muscle mass and cardiovascular health increase your sparring, grappling and self-defense ability. And the circle of training continues….

Forms can be learned online

Benefits for our students

While you won’t earn a black belt online with us, we do offer online training tutorials. If you are our student, they are invaluable for practicing correctly. We expect all students to practice at home – but only if he or she wants to be better! Having a Bushido Karate instructor demonstrate the proper way to execute techniques is the best way to “get it right!”. Our tutorials  are broken down into easy-to-follow mini-lessons, and can be viewed as many times are your heart desires.

Benefits for non-students, too!

Our forms tutorials are a fantastic way to get in awesome shape. Performing each move and technique with tension in the beginning and with explosive energy when you get better and better – it’s a muscle-toning, calorie-burning, cardiovascular blast!

Martial Arts Fitness

Check out our FREE Martial Arts Fitness series for kicks, punches and brain-training that will give you a martial arts based workout with a kickboxing feel! Quick videos get you moving and offer combinations that are easy-to-learn and fun to do!

 

 

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This week’s Student Spotlight

karate boy hidden by question mark

Student Spotlight

The Bushido School of Karate is so appreciative of the students and families that are a part of our Bushido Karate family. We’ve had the pleasure of teaching for over 2 decades and in that time have been privileged to teach thousands of students. Everyone started at the beginning with no shortcuts, and we are so proud of their accomplishments.  Our weekly Student Spotlight features randomly chosen students on their own journey at The Bushido School of Karate.

This week’s spotlight is on Alan!

  • Alan is 10 years old, is in 5th grade and was recently promoted to blue belt at Bushido Karate. He started karate classes in October 2017.
  • Alan says:  “My favorite thing about  Bushido Karate is doing kicks and white belt form”
  • Alan’s mom says: “I chose Bushido Karate  because we wanted Alan to change some of his skills, and a friend recommended The Bushido School of Karate.”
picture of a boy in a karate uniform
Student spotlight on Alan!    November 14, 2018

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Who will be in the spotlight next week? Subscribe to receive e-mails about our blog posts and you’ll be among the first to know!  Plus you’ll receive  CHANGE YOUR MIND, CHANGE YOUR BODY® Martial Arts Fitness by BUSHIDO KARATE episodes, inspiration to recharge your day and posts on topics that matter to you!

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This week’s Student Spotlight

karate teen hidden by pumpkin

Student Spotlight

The Bushido School of Karate is so appreciative of the students and families that are a part of our Bushido Karate family. We’ve had the pleasure of teaching for over 2 decades and in that time have been privileged to teach thousands of students. Everyone started at the beginning with no shortcuts, and we are so proud of their accomplishments.  Our weekly Student Spotlight features randomly chosen students on their own journey at The Bushido School of Karate.

This week’s spotlight is on Brandon!

  • Brandon is 14 years old, is in 9th grade and is a green belt at Bushido Karate. He started karate classes in November 2015.
  • Brandon says:  “My favorite part of training at  Bushido Karate are the workouts and the intensity that follows it, and to me personally, I enjoy it.”
  • Brandon’s dad say: “I chose Bushido Karate for Brandon because I had heard that it is a good school that will teach my kid discipline, respect and confidence that will lead him to create a commitment for a better life.”
teenage karate student
Student spotlight on Brandon! October 31, 2018

Blog posts delivered to your inbox

Who will be in the spotlight next week? Subscribe to receive e-mails about our blog posts and you’ll be among the first to know!  Plus you’ll receive  CHANGE YOUR MIND, CHANGE YOUR BODY® Martial Arts Fitness by BUSHIDO KARATE episodes, inspiration to recharge your day and posts on topics that matter to you!

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This week’s Student Spotlight

hidden face of karate kid

Student Spotlight

The Bushido School of Karate is so appreciative of the students and families that are a part of our Bushido Karate family. We’ve had the pleasure of teaching for over 2 decades and in that time have been privileged to teach thousands of students. Everyone started at the beginning with no shortcuts, and we are so proud of their accomplishments.  Our weekly Student Spotlight features randomly chosen students on their own journey at The Bushido School of Karate.

This week’s spotlight is on Jeffrey!

  • Jeffrey is 10 years old, is in 6th grade and is a brown belt at Bushido Karate. He started karate classes in March 2015.
  • Jeffrey says:  “My favorite thing (about training) at  Bushido Karate is doing my kicks and getting stronger so I can defend myself.:”.
  • Jeffrey’s mother say: “I chose Bushido Karate for my children – Change Your Mind, Change Your Body(TM)- teaches them to defend themselves.”.     
picture of boy in karate uniform
Student spotlight on Jeffrey!   October 17, 2018

 

Blog posts delivered to your inbox

Who will be in the spotlight next week? Subscribe to receive e-mails about our blog posts and you’ll be among the first to know!  Plus you’ll receive  CHANGE YOUR MIND, CHANGE YOUR BODY® Martial Arts Fitness by BUSHIDO KARATE episodes, inspiration to recharge your day and posts on topics that matter to you!

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The buzz on honey, sweetie

natural glucose gel

From buckwheat and clover to Manuka and orange blossom, there are dozens and dozens of honey varieties. Each one has its own unique flavor and compounds of nectar, making some better at others to heal what ails you. Or, as proven by scientific study, “honey delivers a significant performance boost to athletes during strenuous exercise.”

Benefits for Martial Arts Training

Martial artists need “staying power”, and extra carbohydrates are the norm for sustaining energy during tough training. Raw honey – unpasteurized – contains the perfect combination of natural carbohydrates.

“Ancient Olympic athletes would eat honey and dried figs to enhance their performance. This has now been verified with modern studies, showing that it is superior in maintaining glycogen levels and improving recovery time than other sweeteners.” 

Glycogen gives us energy

Performance athletes, including martial artists training at an intense level, need endurance as well as skill. You can be technically fantastic, but if you “hit the wall”, ( i.e. no energy left at all, cooked, baked, finito, put a fork in you) you’re done. And in the martial arts that could mean the difference between walking away and being carried.

The body can store around 2,000 calories of glucose as glycogen. This can become an impediment for endurance athletes, who can burn that many calories in a couple of hours. When they run out of glycogen, they will almost immediately be unable to perform, a state commonly described as “hitting the wall.”

Honey is the all-natural glucose gel

Some endurance athletes supplement before and during exercise with glucose gel. Typically glucose gel is used by those with diabetes and hypoglycemia to raise their blood sugar levels. For martial artists, this gives the body the carbohydrates (glucose) it needs to replenish and keep going.

Raw, unfiltered honey gives the perfect combination of natural carbohydrates and it wasn’t created in a lab.  I suggest purchasing locally – it’s cool to know that maybe that honey bee you saw pollinating last Spring in your backyard contributed to that harvest!

Osu