When you train martial arts you build dedication, discipline, and determination

It takes dedication to the training if you want to improve in martial arts. If you aren’t disciplined than you won’t show up to train, and if you aren’t determined than you won’t train hard.  Brazilian Jiu Jitsu doesn’t necessarily attract people who already have those qualities though. Dedication, discipline, and determination are taught through the process of training.  

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu’s ability to instill those traits is one of the most impressive aspects of the sport.  It took me at 18-years-old; a lazy, uninspired kid, and brought me to who I am now; A dedicated, disciplined, and determined individual, who consistently sets and achieves his goals. 

I started training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu when I was 18.  I had never trained martial arts before, I hadn’t wrestled in high school, and I wasn’t a family member of a martial artist. I went in for a trial class because a friend of mine wanted to try it out.  It took all of one week of training before I was hooked.  My free time deviated from my old hobby, and I spent every possible minute in the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gym.

I wasn’t a bad kid growing up, but I wasn’t a disciplined scholar or a dedicated artist either. There was very little that inspired me, and I didn’t care for sticking to what I started. I quit several sports and never committed very well to anything. My grades dropped as I moved through school. I started Brazilian Jiu Jitsu about one month before graduating; finishing with a low GPA and a lack of motivation for the next step in life. 

At the gym, I watched the people who trained the most become the best.  The people who didn’t do the correct techniques during training, or who didn’t come on time, weren’t getting much better.  Their lack of discipline showed in the results of their training.  But the people who came every week on their dedicated training days continued to improve. I learned that by surrounding myself with the dedicated people, I also got better. But that meant I had to dedicate to coming on time, staying after class, and working hard to improve. 

It took me 18 months to get my blue belt. That seems like such a brief time now, but for 19-year-old me, that was a huge accomplishment (and an enormous dedication). I was determined to get my blue belt.  I had dedicated every weekend to training instead of partying on my college campus, I stayed disciplined with my training times during the week, and I accomplished my goal because of it. 

I never expected to train martial arts, let alone enjoy it, but by then I completely treasured my time on the mats.  I was so dedicated to training every evening that I found a morning job which allowed me to reshape my schedule.  Determined to keep training, I worked extra to pay the membership fees on top of my normal bills. When I moved to a new city, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gyms were the first thing I looked up.  I had learned what these words meant: dedication, determination, discipline. The three D’s of martial arts.  

Of course, I had to be willing to adapt these traits.  But if it weren’t for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, I don’t know where I would have learned them.  It was a perfect catalyst for my self-improvement.  And now I can see how it applies to everyone else in such similar ways. 


-Keifer Johnson

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