Most successes in life are the result of doing something a little better than average. A good example of this is in scholastics. Have you ever taken a test where the difference between an A and a B grade is just one correct answer? And you know you could have answered at least one more correct if you studied a little extra.
The same holds true in martial arts training. We call it the stretch theory. Yes, the martial arts will aid your flexibility, but we had a different type of stretching in mind. You could call it mind-stretching! This is the ability to motivate yourself to go beyond what you normally do. To push yourself beyond the boundaries or limitations your mind may have placed before you. When you stretch yourself mentally, even when you think you have already given it your all, the most amazing changes will occur! The Stretch Theory says that you will have significantly more positive results if you give or do more than you currently are doing. Have you heard the saying, “There is always room for improvement”? Stretching is the art of seeking that improvement.
In the classroom, students are asked to give a 110% effort. It’s that little extra that can really make a difference. For example, did you know that when you are doing push-ups or sit-ups, the last few repetitions have the greatest impact on your conditioning? Those last few that are the hardest to do are the ones that give you the best results.
At our school, one of our objectives is to teach students how to stretch outside of what they believe to be their boundaries or limitations. Often, students are amazed that their potential is much higher than they ever thought possible.
A key ingredient in achieving this objective is attendance consistency. All students experience peaks and valleys in learning, which can effect their level of motivation. These shifts in motivation occur from time to time and are natural during the course of training. These are times when students’ characters can make significant shifts and become much stronger. Their development as martial artists progresses as they demonstrate qualities of perseverance and commitment.
Adult students are responsible for their own actions which lead to success or failure. The fate of our younger students are often determined by their parents. We realize that daily routines are often bombarded with interruptions, but parents ability to stretch with their children will ensure their children’s progression toward black belt. Along this rewarding journey, there are many ups and downs. At our school, it is a team effort of instructors and parents to motivate and re-motivate children to give them the support they require.
An essential aspect of the Stretch Theory is to have an ultimate goal. It would be difficult for anyone to give a little extra for something they don’t really want or that isn’t worth achieving. Everyone need a reason to be motivated. In martial arts, we want everyone to remember that first day of class. It was a time of excitement and of discovery. Look at how far you have come and remember your ultimate goal, to be a black belt.