Motivation issues - winter blues perhaps?

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by SuperFLY, Jan 20, 2012.

  1. SuperFLY

    SuperFLY Green Belt

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    Hi all,

    Just wanted to post this up and see what your thoughts are or if you have any tips to help keep yourself motivated in martial arts.

    I practice both Aikido and Karate and took (and passed) my last Karate grading in December. I'm now getting close to my final grading for Shodan black belt.

    My problem is, since the chrismas break im finding it hard to get myself motivated. i missed the 1st lesson back after the break, i didnt go to my last aikido training telling the friend i go with 'i was tired' which was true but i still could have splashed some water on my face and got on with it.

    With my black belt grading looming I really need to start knuckling down and getting motivated again, i mean i can turn up to training but whats the point if my heart isnt in it. i do love doing it and am looking forward to finally reaching black but i just dont have the same enthusiasm that i had a few months ago.

    its not just training i need to get on with either, i have a written and verbal test plus an assessment to do along with all the physical parts. i started reading the books but again i just cant get into it and im not sure why.

    do you think it could just be the winter blues?

    general diet is unchanged, although i did eat a load of crap over the break, since coming back its been mostly back to normal (i drink a lot of water, eat regularly, plenty of salad/greens, decent dinners, dont go mad on sweets ec..)

    maybe i've just not got back into the swing of it yet. i need to step up my karate training so i'll probably end up going tuesdays, thursdays and fridays and sometimes saturdays where i have to attend our chief instructors class. perhaps once i start into that routine i'll regain my focus.

    wonder if it could partly be nerves for the coming test?

    its a strange mood to be sure

    anyone had similar issues? how did you overcome them?

    any comments welcome :)

    thanks
     
  2. sfs982000

    sfs982000 Master Black Belt

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    It could be a sign of overtraining if you're doing both Karate and Aikido at the same time. I feel your pain though, I'm kind of in the same boat as you are right now. I have a grading coming up as well and I'm finding my motivation for training lacking. For myself I find that taking mini breaks from time to time help me out to rest my body and refocus.
     
  3. SuperFLY

    SuperFLY Green Belt

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    hey, thanks for the reply.

    honestly i doubt it could be that. i only do aikido on mondays and its certainly not my focus at present (it is helpful for applications though)

    before xmas my schedule was aikido monday, karate thursday and friday so i wouldnt say im pushing it by any stretch of the imagination.

    need to step up my karate training though on the run up to my grading.

    i should go tonight but i keep finding my self thinking i'll give it a miss. bad day at work today.. keep making silly mistakes, feeling a bit down. perhaps my problem isnt MA related and i've got to shake this dark cloud over my head.

    at least i'm off monday so i've now got a 3 day w/e to relax and get my head straight.

    self promise to shake it off and hit next week running. :)
     
  4. Gemini

    Gemini Senior Master

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    I don't have that issue with MA (since I teach I have a different mindset) but I'm also a cyclist and am experiencing the same lack of motivation to get back on the bike. Anytime we take a break, we take the chance of this happening. It isn't uncommon. Personally, I believe the best course of action is to make yourself get back into it and stop with the excuses. If over some time you don't get back into your groove, you may want to consider a break. Pushing yourself into motivation (jump start) is fine for a short time, but if it becomes longer, it can cause more harm than good.
     
  5. TaekwonTiger

    TaekwonTiger White Belt

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    Is it just Karate you are lacking motivation for? Or other things in life too, like job etc? If so, it could just be winter blues.
    As for training, I don't have much personal experience yet but I've listened to a few of the senior students. A break might help you, but often I hear people talk that when things become tough and you are not sure why you are doing it - you keep going to training, even if you feel you don't progress. Maybe try it until summer (so you dont have the winter blues excuse anymore) and just focus on training, rather than getting worried about having to start the assignment and therefore putting yourself under pressure.
     
  6. jedtx88

    jedtx88 Yellow Belt

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    Find somewhere else to spar, it does you good to fight strangers every now and again. At least that helped me out of a slump.
     
  7. Gnarlie

    Gnarlie Master of Arts

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    Hello SuperFLY

    It could be any one of a thousand different reasons, but here's the one I'd put my money on: Fear of success.

    Have a word with your amygdalae! The oldest part of your brain, the one responsible for memory of emotional responses, fighting, mating, eating, running away. It does not like change. It is worried about what will happen if you succeed, and perceives this as a threat. It is controlling your emotions to keep you from succeeding.

    1st Dan is a signal to yourself, your peers and instructors and the world that you are ready to become a serious and dedicated student of the martial arts. Most people on their way up through the colour belt grades experience at least one 'lull' similar to the one you're having now. You may have dealt with this before yourself. Usually in TKD this happens around blue belt. Most students I've known have experienced an even more intense version of the lull, which is much harder to deal with and overcome, prior to the 1st Dan grading. You'd expect your amygdalae to attack your nerves, and make you nervous, jack up the adrenalin, but it doesn't. It attacks where you least expect it: your emotions - indirectly your self confidence, your motivation, your energy levels, your perceived susceptibility to injuries, etc. All the places where it can sneak in and prevent you from attaining your full potential and stop you from claiming that which is rightfully yours.

    You have to listen for that little voice, and work out what it's telling you...it's not worried that you will fail, but that you might succeed...and what then? Will you be up to the challenge that comes after you pass that grading?

    I'm afraid that to get past this, you'll need to suck it up and beat back that little voice in order to succeed. Force yourself to use positive self talk - say to yourself that you can handle it. Visualise what it will be like when you pass. Work out how you will handle it, removing the perceived threat. Say to yourself 'I'm going to training tonight, and I'm going to really go for it, because I'm going to pass the black belt grading'.

    Good luck man, this hump can be difficult to get over, as it's an often overlooked and underestimated mental challenge on the way to excellence. Talk to your instructor, (s)he will have been there.

    Or come back to us for motivation and support when you need it :D

    Gnarlie
     
  8. SuperFLY

    SuperFLY Green Belt

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    Gnarlie, reading through you post i think you've hit the nail on the head!

    motivation = lacking
    energy levels = low (been feeling constantly tired lately)
    injuries = pulled a muscle during aikido just before xmas. 1st real injury whilst training ever other than a blister or 2. (if i get hurt it doesnt bother me but this was the 1st one i physically couldnt continue with. couldnt stand..) been difficult doing the move again for fear of re-injury. feels like im at square 1 with it.

    exactly as you say..

    this does bleed into other aspects of my life so could be general blues but i think what you say is very likely as well and that its affecting other parts of my life.

    this week my training starts with renewed vigor.. im going for it :D hope i feel better.. or should i say i will feel better for it :D
     
  9. shihansmurf

    shihansmurf Black Belt

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    Best of luck on the upcoming grading.

    Its easy to get wrapped up in our training and loose a bit of motivation from time to time. Try a different exercise routine, spar with new poeple, whatever.

    Novelty in what we do goes a long way towards avoiding burn out.

    Any chance it could be just pre-test jitters getting a grip on ya?

    Mark
     
  10. Gnarlie

    Gnarlie Master of Arts

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    Glad to hear that you're going to beat it. If the same feelings exist in other parts of your life, ask yourself what else the oldest part of your brain might be afraid of. Are you going through / due to go through a time of major change? Are there some unknowns on the horizon?

    Here's an interesting speech from Seth Godin on the effects of the amygdalae on our daily performance. Has helped me a lot with motivation and overcoming negative feelings about my own performance, martially and in general:

    vimeo.com/5895898123
     

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