The black belt is perhaps the most mystical and coveted qualification in the world.
Now despite the fact that many associations and systems seem to give away belts like a record of attendance certificate, the grade of black belt still has value.
In your mind, the grade represents the hard work that you put in to achieve it.
In the mind of the average person, it is the rule for a person who can kick serious ass should they need to.
Make no mistake gaining a black belt takes effort, hard work and dedication.
But, there is a way to cut the time drastically down it takes to get a black belt in any situation.
Today we will give you 10 shortcuts to getting that black belt in the fastest time possible
However make no mistake, this is not about getting the belt at a reduced skill level; this is about reaching that skill level faster than you ever thought possible.
So if you are ready, here it is.
1. Create A Training Plan
If you can’t do this for yourself, then ask your instructor to create a tailor-made training plan which will help you to reach your goals faster.
You need to think of this as a roadmap for success.
So what should it look like?
Well, this will be different for you than the next person depending on your art or system.
However it might look like this:
To increase grade by 2 and enter 4 tournaments
Weak Skill Areas: Cardio and Grappling
January week 1:
Monday: Run 5 miles
Tuesday: Session, focus on techniques Jab, and hook
Wednesday: Gym session (focus on power)
Friday: Grappling Training, focus on takedowns from the clinch
Sat: Rest Day
Sunday: Rest day
And you would repeat this for every week of the year.
The idea is not to make this so stiff that you cannot change it, heck if you can’t train a Tuesday due to child care then just move a day about.
By having a plan you have something to follow.
2. Keep A Training Diary
I won’t moan too much about this but every martial artist needs one and if you haven’t got one then it says a lot about your dedication to improvement.
That might seem harsh but if you can’t be bothered to write down some notes after class so you can remember the lesson better. Well, perhaps you aren’t as committed as you should be.
The simple fact is that training diaries work, just like a food diary helps someone lose weight by tracking their food intake. This will help you to remember those important details after class.
Make sure you refresh yourself and read it every day!
3. Get Some On-Line Training
If your martial art has on-line training, get it!
This is a way you can grow fast, because you will be learning all the time.
For the sake of £20 or so a month, you will have access to everything you need to grow.
On-line apps, training platforms and e-books offer you a real chance to grow your knowledge at rapid speed.
4. Go To Seminars
Every year martial arts seminars get cancelled before they even start.
The truth is that not enough people go to them.
Now I avoid 99.9% of seminars because they are utter rubbish, but that doesn’t mean that the concept of seminars is a bad one.
Seminars will help you to grow rapidly, but the real key is picking the best ones!
If you are into self-defence, pick a seminar from an expertJKD
Into JKD? Make sure you train with a seasoned veteran of the art.
BJJ? Try and train with a top tier black belt.
It is over saturation of the seminar market that makes too few people attend them. However look out for the special ones and your skill level will soon increase because you are training with the very best!
5. Read Articles and Books
This is a key part.
If you want to become a black belt you have to eat, sleep and breathe the art you are aiming at.
So subscribe to the blogs, add the pages on Facebook and subscribe to YouTube channels.
Make sure that your inbox is full of your martial art and read books.
If your art is old, enough you will find a truck load of second-hand books that are out of print on eBay.
No one said this would be easy, but already your knowledge is growing at super speed!
6. Work on Your Strengths First And Then Your weakness
This sounds like I got it wrong but trust me on this.
If you are good at punching, become great at it.
If you have a superb hip throw, make it amazing. Whatever your strength is, focus on that first and then work on your weakness.
Too many people, including great coaches, will tell you that you need to work on your weaknesses, and not your strengths and the argument for this is quite a good one.
However, the real key to success in martial arts is to pick just one aspect that you are great at and become even better at it.
You see we all have natural aptitudes for different things, for example when I was boxing my left jab was quite good. So I worked at it all the time and built my skills around the jab.
My jab became my core weapon, fast yet it was like having a metal pole rammed into your face.
Take a look at Tysons hooks, Joe Frazier’s Left Hook, Ali’s footwork, Roy Jones Juniors hand speed.
If you focus on what you are good at and build everything around this, then you will find that after time your other skills will naturally develop, but your core natural ability is simply sensational.
So what could you natural ability be?
Power punches or kicks?
Fearsome elbow strikes?
Build outward from something that you are naturally good at.
7. Get Doing Burpees
Don’t you just hate them? Me too.
However, they are still the best exercise that you can do for all-round fitness.
So make sure they become a staple of your martial arts training.
My advice is to do them at the very end of your session.
Because they force you to dig in, they develop heart and determination as well as fitness.
This type of fitness is what you need to power yourself through the grades.
8. Footwork, Footwork, Footwork
The feet are what really make a great martial artist.
Someone with good footwork can transition into any martial art with relative ease.
So how do you get good at footwork?
Simple….. train it!
If you aren’t doing 3 x 2minute rounds of footwork as part of your warm-up you need to.
Now footwork changes from style to style, but that shouldn’t stop it from being part of your training routine.
If you learn to move well in your art it makes everything easier!
9. Evaluate Your Skill Growth Each Month
“There is no growth in comfort.”
Many of us have heard this fantastic quote from self-defence expert Geoff Thompson.
However in truth, there is no growth unless you recognise it.
Let’s look at the man on a diet that doesn’t weigh himself. Sure he might feel better, he might be stopping himself from eating junk food.
But how will he really know that he is losing weight unless there is a tangible way of judging?
The same with your martial arts. You need to set yourself goals and regularly look at your performance and evaluate it with some tangible data.
This way you will be able to get back on track if you need to.
10. Do Not Be Afraid To Fail
I took me two attempts to get my Judo black belt; it took me two attempts to pass my police driving course.
It might take you 1 try to get your next grade or it might take 10.
It matters not.
What matters is that you are trying to reach a goal and that you will not give up.
So there we have it, 10 ways you can reach your black belt faster than you ever thought possible and still maintain a high level of technical skill.
By making these key adjustments you will see your skills increase and that coveted black belt will be closer than you think!
In truth, it doesn’t matter where you are right now. All the matters is that you keep moving forward. Because just like Rocky said “that’s how winning is done.”