After a long hiatus on the blogging front, I'm finally back. I've been busy with life - school and work mostly, but that's only part of the reason I had stopped writing in this blog. The main reason was mostly due to the title of this post. Motivation, or more accurately, the lack of motivation.

That's been the theme of my life in Tae Kwon Do for the past several months. It's hard to openly admit frustrations and struggles, so instead, I set the blog aside for a while. I wanted to keep this blog positive and upbeat, but life's not always going to be like that. I am not perfect and I have things that I occasionally struggle with. Things that frustrate me. Sometimes I just need to vent or work something out by typing it, so that is what I will do here.

The time leading up to my black belt test was fast paced and intense. I had a huge goal in front of me and everyone was pushing me toward that goal, including myself. The test itself was probably the hardest thing I've ever done, but completely worth it. I accomplished a major goal - not the end goal (since that is continuing to train and improve).

It's the cool down time since the test that's thrown me for a loop. There hasn't really been a specific goal either short or long term that I've set my sights on. Not just that, but it's like the lead up to my black belt test was the upward slope of a roller coaster. Anticipation, nervousness, intensity, training hard. . . everything. Then, after the test, woosh! I've bottomed out on the roller coaster and it's like the rug's been pulled out from my feet.

There's always an adjustment period after a belt test, but this one was a doozy. Everything's different. We don't have a separate class for black belts. This means that the class time that I used to have for me to work - is now me assisting with teaching the students. I don't mind teaching. That's not the point that I'm making. The point is that now I don't have that 1-2 hour time to work, drill, become soaked with sweat and become exhausted like I used to. Yes, I can do those things at home, but in class is where I feel that I really get the work in. Now, time to work is limited to whatever time my instructors and I can stay after class (if any). I know my instructors work and have families and that teaching Tae Kwon Do is something they do for the love of the art, so I feel selfish asking to stay late to work on something after class is over.

It's frustrating. Especially when you add in the fact that one of my main instructors has had to move 3 hours away for work and can't attend class currently. That was a devastating blow in and of itself.

My Tae Kwon Do has never felt like an obligation or a chore. It's always been a passion of mine even when I get frustrated. I feel I've lost the excitement - the anticipation for class somewhat. I don't want this to happen.

I still want to be there and I still want to teach, but I need to find ways to make the most of the training time that I do have and to motivate myself again. I have started lifting weights with one of my instructors and doing some cardio stuff at home which is helping a bit. Now I have to continue to from there....


Noah said...

This is most definitely the infamous "Post-Shodan Slump" that I hear about so often. Since I haven't reached black belt yet, I haven't had that happen to me, but I've definitely seen it happen. Good karateka train hard and pass their shodan test, and then they show up to classes for a few weeks like they normally did, but that starts to taper off. Instead of seeing them at every class, they start missing some. Over time, that grows until they only make it in every now and then. Some of them actually quit.

Personally, I think that the best thing you can do is set a new goal for yourself. Nidan is probably a little far away to set that as a goal, but maybe not--according to your timer on your blog, it's been about a year since you tested, so maybe Nidan isn't that far off. You could also set competitive goals, or scholastic goals, or fitness goals. I hope you get your motivation back!

Felicia said...

Welcome back, Ariel!

I'll say exactly what Noah said. I agree that having new goals might help with you motivation. Sure, set your sights on nidan, but also think about short-term goals as well, like competing in a local tourney, learning bunkaifor/tightening a particular kata or even attending a seminar or something.

As far as your training --> teaching goes, that's regretable - but I bet if you talk to your instructors about it (can you come in before class or maybe on another day? can you train with others from your class off the mat? is there a nearby sister school you could attend a few times a month where you are just a student and not an instructor?) ou'd be surprised at what you can come up with. The idea that you ARE trying says a great deal about your dedication to your art. Don't lose that!

Ariel said...

Noah - Yes, I've definitely heard of the post-shodan slump. Never thought it would happen to me, but that's how it goes, I guess. Yes. Nidan. I have a year to go before I'm eligible to test. It's definitely more of a mental/teaching test than shodan, so maybe a little harder to prepare for than shodan was?

But yes, you're right. I do need to set goals. I have started doing a workout with weights within the past month. That has been great for building strength, but I need to set some tangible goals.

Felicia - Yes, I definitely need to figure out some short and long term goals. I want to compete in another tourney, but those are few and far between here. I think there's one in the summer or fall. Will check on it.

I have talked to my instructors about it, though I may need to bring it up again. Their time is very limited as is, so finding another day probably won't work. As far as others, the students are either brand new yellow belts or kids, so there's not anyone higher ranking who I can train with right now.

The sister school is 3 hours away, which doesn't help! Though I'd gladly drive the distance just to have someone close to my rank to train with. Um...I am cross-training in BJJ, so that helps with letting me be a student.

Thanks for the suggestions! I'll continue to think about them and work on setting some goals.

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Amber Lynn Jones said...

It's important to have passion in life. But passion comes with responsibility that we must take into account. Self defense, fitness and a healthier body are the motivations for martial arts; then I can say it's a good passion.

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Alena Mauer said...

My son wants to be join martial arts. I don't know if he is big/old enough. He is only 5 years old. Is that too young to start? I don't want him to get hurt.

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Jackson ville said...

To achieve any goal you set needs devotion. Their is always a second way for anything which we have to find. Like in your case you need more time for practice and also motivation so that you can achieve your goals. Though you are learning Tae Kwon Do, i was into martial arts where i was not having much time for practicing it. Due to which i start loosing my confidence but my coach helps me in making a proper schedule and motivated me that "I am not the best but not even the worst". So you must follow this attitude to achieve your goals in life.

Claudia Rosenburg said...

My daughter wants to learn martial arts, but I'm not entirely sure what style of martial arts would be good for her to learn. She wants to learn how to defend herself. Should she just take a self-defense class instead? I don't know if she understands that if she starts martial arts she should be committed.
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Anonymous said...

Im going thru the same issue, different art, Black Belt in Hapkido, its been 6 months now and its exactly the same, now i have to motivate myself every time im going to class and feel disappointed after its finished.

Matt said...

Thanks for your honest reflection regarding your current state of mind. Keep sharing and thinking about your training and you'll find your way to a solution!

huin said...

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shirlsw12 said...

I remember when I was really little, my uncle showed me some basic karate moves. I thought it was really fun, but I didn't want to go to classes every week. Having motivation is really important. If you aren't motivated you won't have any reason to get the help you need with something like this. I hope that people realize when they want to do this. It can definitely be a struggle if you don't have that motivation.

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Paige said...

I understand your frustration. It's hard to find the motivation to practice on your own. I would much rather be in a class as well. Maybe it would help to set a goal and have something to work toward.

Anonymous said...

I've got 1 white hair and I'm not very flexible. Some guy from my sports centre just knocked on my door and asked me if I was interested. Of course I sad yes. I used to do it but I quit because I was embarassed of my body. (We were all 7-10 years but certain parts of my body were "developing" early and I was really self conscious about that. The jumping jacks would kill me!) Now I'm 17 going on 18 and now I'm worried that I'm going to be the oldest one there... -.- That would really svck..

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