In martial arts personal advancement is the name of the game. Nobody wants to lose in training, but in order to continuously progress our game sometimes it is a necessary evil. Daily progression is a must, and it is imperative that you leave the mats a better martial artist than when you stepped on them. Sure, there are peaks and valleys in everyone’s personal progression, but not even a plateau should stop you from expanding your game and achieving daily personal progression.
It is important to know that winning matches in the gym isn’t the most important part of your daily training. Everyone loves winning, but it isn’t what makes you better from day to day. As I get better I am constantly looking for ways to advance my game. I put myself in compromising positions to test out new techniques, and I often lose to people I “shouldn’t” lose to. Any roll or sparring match can be as difficult you make it. No matter what belt you are new techniques are going to be foreign and difficult at first, and trying to implement them into your game is always going to put you at risk for defeat. Even a white belt can be a hard match if you’re trying something new. It is okay to lose in pursuit of fitting a new technique or strategy into your martial arts repertoire.
I can’t count the number of times I have been submitted or hit because I tried a new technique that I had just learned. I don’t regret any time that I have either. It was a great learning experience that helped me get to the brown belt level. Experimentation has truly made me a better fighter. Many of my best moves were once my worst. I would get reversed repeatedly when I first started trying the Peruvian neck tie, but after months of failing it began to be one of my go to submissions from the font head lock.
Over my nine plus years of training I have learned that winning is second to learning, and sometimes in order to learn you have to lose. Don’t be afraid to tap, tapping is your best friend and it will stay with you for the rest of you martial arts life. Never be afraid of trying new things, even if you get hit a few times doing it. Sparring is for experimentation and personal progression. Embrace defeat just as you would victory. You could be missing out on a signature technique that could revolutionize your game, all because your ego got in the way. Let go of your ego and start being a better martial artist today.