Published: January 6, 2023

Goal Setting

Setting Martial Arts Goals

Success is no accident in the BJJ gym. How do you achieve your martial arts goals? Dark Horse uses the S.M.A.R.T. system within regularly scheduled goal meetings. Understanding goal setting and learning how to use the S.M.A.R.T. tool is going to greatly improve your ability to achieve what you want out of life. We will help you establish and achieve the goals you have in mind.  We will break down how to set and achieve goals here. 


Are goals important? 

Simple answer: YES! Goal setting helps you achieve your desires, your dreams and your plans by giving a defined path in how to do it. 


What kind of goals should you set for martial arts? Here are some common goals we hear from our students: 

  • I want to lose weight. 
  • I want to be a black belt. 
  • I want to improve my health. 
  • I want to compete. 


What is the S.M.A.R.T. process


  • S… Specific
  • M… Measurable
  • A… Achievable
  • R… Relevant
  • T… Time bound


Specific: Identify a specific goal. I am currently a blue belt and I want my black belt. This is a specific goal. This becomes the larger goal as this goal has many other steps to be completed before it can be achieved. So, what else do you need to do to get there? Your goal may have several smaller more attainable goals that lead you to your big goal. So we need to dial it down to a more reasonable step. I want my purple belt in two years. This is a specific goal that is related to your bigger goal.


Measurable: Can we measure this goal? Yes! It meets the criteria. We can measure our journey against the criteria of the blue belt and purple belt. We now know what we need to do in order to achieve our purple belt. These criteria make the process measurable. 


Achievable: Is this goal achievable? Absolutely, provided we identify the criteria, put in the time and meet the benchmarks of the belt it is measured by.


Relevant: Is achieving our purple belt in two years relevant and results based? Again yes. The purple belt will move us one belt closer to our black belt, making it very relevant. Our success is results based. The results are when we meet the standards of the blue belt and begin to work on the principles of the purple belt. 


Time Bound: We have identified the average time frame for a blue belt to achieve their purple belt. We have decided that we went the purple belt in two years, not “sometime in the future”.

Setting Goals for Life

Goal setting is not just limited to your martial arts journey. The principles we use are just as relevant in the rest of your life: I want to take a vacation to Alaska; I want my boss to promote me. The process for making and achieving a goal off the mat is exactly the same.


What should you do after achieving your goal?

Celebrate! You deserve it! Having a reward for achieving your goal is great idea. Make it appropriate. If your goal was to lose weight, you exercised consistently, changed some habits, you changed your diet, you cut back on portions and change the types of food you ate and after three months you hit your weight you were aiming for, CELEBRATE! Give yourself a treat. Maybe that is one indulgent meal, or a movie; maybe it is new clothes. Whatever is going to make you feel even better about achieving your goal.


While your goal may have its own rewards, it is important to celebrate regardless.  Celebrating your success helps keep you motivated and moving forward. Many goals can be steps leading you to larger goals, more daunting goal that feel impossible. Having rewards for the small steps is important and will help you persevere to your bigger goal. 


Now what? 

Make a new goal. That weight loss goal was a step for you to improve your health. Was that part of a larger goal? Perhaps to compete? The point of having goals and celebrating is it leads you to wherever you want to go. With BJJ, as in life, there is truly no end to learning. Therefore there is never really an end to goal setting.

Published: January 6, 2023

Categories: Discipline, Health, Training