I want to discuss something that will hold you back from moving forward in your training. Sound effects please… and that is: self-doubt!
In all seriousness when you first start training you take everything in like a sponge. You are excited, you listen to everyone’s advice and you don’t really question much of what anyone is telling you other than how to execute the technique to the best of your ability. You are obsessed with learning everything the correct way and you are all ears to what everyone is telling you so you can get better.
Then, all of a sudden you notice your progress has stopped, you are not learning anything anymore, you’re not improving, you’re not getting any worse, but you’re not really getting any better either.
Then it starts: self-doubt, that little voice in your head starts to say things like, “What’s going on? Why can I not get any better? The new person that started after me is starting to catch up with me, I must not be improving; or even worse I must be going backwards!”
If you have found yourself in this situation, this is normal, anyone that has been training for more than 90 days consistently, has been there. This is usually because by about your 90 day mark you have taken a considerable number of classes and have gone over some of the same information.
When you first started, all the movements that your body was doing were new and unfamiliar. Now that you have had some time in the gym, everything seems normal. The things that used to be hard have gotten easier. You have noticed these big changes.
Then all of a sudden after about 90 days, you start realizing that there hasn’t been any progress, or that you do not feel like you are learning any more. I mean I should be able to beat Chuck Norris by now, right?
Well, what do you do?
- Keep a record book – Something that shows your progress on paper. That way you can go back and look at your notes and know that you really are still learning and progressing. This is something I have said before, just like you should keep a record of your meals and strength training, you should keep records of your progress in Muay Thai. It doesn’t need to be a dissertation; you only need to make a few notes. I learned X or I sparred 5 rounds today. Whatever your daily activity was plus how you felt: great or tired. That’s it, then if you start doubting yourself you can go back and look at your notes to see your proof of progress.
- Muay Thai is Art – You have to remember that Muay Thai is a martial art, meaning practicing is a journey, not a destination. It does take a long time for you to really understand a lot of what’s happening. Think about it, you didn’t walk overnight. What does that progression look like? Well, first you are on your back for some time until you start to learn to roll over, then you start to learn how to get to your hands and knees, then you start learning to stand up on your feet. Once that happens you are clinging on to everything you can for dear life to learn balance. Then you start to take small steps and you fall down, your steps improve but still you continue to fall. After falling down 1,000 times a week, for weeks on end, you finally start to make some progress and start to navigate the floor. Then and only then once you have done this enough times will you start to walk consistently. Well then it’s off to the races!
- Watch fights– This is one thing I talk about often. Watching fights, whether it’s on YouTube, going to live amateur fights, or even a pro Muay Thai event. You want to expose yourself to seeing someone practicing Muay Thai at a higher level. This will help you in so many ways by opening up your mind and eyes to learning and seeing what the art looks like at competition level.
- Train– I know your thinking well duh! What I mean is try to go to more advanced classes or try sparring if you haven’t yet. Sometimes you will have your learning moments in those situations. You will do or see something that probably wouldn’t have happened otherwise. Plus sparring is the next evolutionary step to your learning, as that obviously should be your goal is to get good enough where you can go to sparring and know what to do.
Try these few tips and let me know how they work out for you. Again remember Muay Thai is not an overnight course or something that you will master in a few weekends. I have been doing it for 16 years now and I am learning almost on a daily basis. It takes time, so don’t let that little voice in your head start the self-doubt nonsense talk.
As always, train hard, be a beast!