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Is Your Personality Type Holding You Back from Succeeding in Online Martial Arts?

This is a guest post authored by Adam Bein, currently a yellow belt in the Global Martial Arts University Shotokan Karate program. He maintains a helpful blog for other shotokan home study students.

You've signed up to learn Shotokan Karate through the Global Martial Arts University.  You pay your fee and you've begun to watch videos and practice.  Wouldn't it be nice to know what hurdles YOU face studying martial arts online due to YOUR specific personality type-that other people who have a personality type different from yours, do NOT have to deal with or face?  Another way to look at this;  how does your type of personality get in the way of advancing in online martial arts training?  Furthermore; how can you leverage the benefits of YOUR personality type to maximize returns and advancement in online martial arts training?  The big question is:  Is understanding your personality type key to excelling and progressing, and not dropping out of, online martial arts training?  I say "Yes.  Understand yourself and your chances of advancement in online martial arts training are significantly greater." 

So What Type of Personality Do I Have?

There  is a personality categorizing test called the 'Kiersey Temperament Sorter' (sometimes known as the Meyers Briggs Personality Test), that, through a series of approximately 80 questions, any individual can find what personality type they have/dominates them, how they function and perceive the world around them, how people with that personality type make decisions, what they prefer, their needs, and their motivation.  

The Member

Are you a person who leans towards membership, being part of a community, finds comfort in functioning in a group setting? You might excel in online martial arts training if you get other people to join your endeavor in a weekly meeting.   Ask family members, people from your church, youth group, other clubs or organizations to join you.  Together all of you can learn Karate.  This might be exactly what you, and they, need, is a good fit-group learning Karate with Global Martial Arts University.  Succeed and advance as a group or a team.

The Perfectionist

Are you a person who strives on improving, perfection, to have skill or knowledge, to understand?  Are you extremely self-critical, self-doubting, yet you have an inquiring attitude?  Consider toning down your tenseness.  You more than the other personality types must learn to accept the mistakes and imperfections that you exhibit on your way to being proficient. You WILL reach competency!  You WILL excel at Karate!  You are never on the verge of failure-you are an exciting, brave individual and you WILL be skilled!  You might need to 'take it down a notch', and 'relax'.  Enjoy the process, enjoy the journey - with Global Martial Arts University. 

The Butterfly

Are you a butterfly?  Do you go from exciting endeavor to exciting endeavor? Are you quickly bored with the mundane?  Incorporate your Karate training into the pursuit of your own identity.  Help YOU become a finished, significant self. Global Martial Arts University can help you bring out the best IN you.  Time your learning and enthusiasm in the correct dosages and stick with it and you will ever closer get to perfection in the art of Karate and towards being a finished self, the you you really are!

The Action Star

Are you a person of action?  Repetition-boring!  Freedom to do as you wish-exciting!  YOU can work or practice for hours!   Karate is fun!  Karate is exciting!  The kicks, the blocks, the striking!  Look at you!  Preciseness, boldness, timing!  But one thing you must learn-leveling up in belts and improving in Shotokan Karate is not an accident and is not done simply by repetition.  Instead, success requires analysis, success requires setting and meeting goals, and improving-and not abandoning this endeavor when boredom strikes (you know you get bored easily!) you need to look BEFORE you leap.   One of the keys to YOUR success in learning Shotokan Karate with Global Martial Arts University is for you to realize that this race is not a sprint, it is long-distance and as such, requires levels of attention to which you would prefer, if given the option, let's be honest, to completely avoid.  You're a do-er after all.  Hate to break the bad news to you but it's time for less scattered doing and more thinking, focusing, planning, and sticking with the plan. 

So GMAU student, which type of person are you; the Member, the Perfectionist, the Butterfly, or the Action Star?  It may be important for you to understand yourself and your personality type so you can custom tailor your learning to fit YOUR personality and to steer away from pitfalls unique to your personality type, so you can excel in the online learning of Shotokan Karate. 

Finalists of the 90 Day Student Challenge - Who Will Win?

It has been an exciting 90 day challenge! We started with 34 energized participants three months ago. Students who had set the goal of earning their next belt within the next 90 days, and to document their journey along the way. For some, they were off to a strong start. Training with intensity, blogging, making videos, and making progress. For a few, life got in the way, and they were not able to continue to make blog posts and train as regularly as they would have liked. Our initial group dwindled down to 6 finalists. Six students who not only trained with consistent intensity, but also documented their journey along the way for you to follow. Six students who put it on the line, and submitted their next rank exams.

Now, it is up to all active Global Martial Arts University students to vote for the winner. Remember, the grand winner will receive a $400 cruise gift certificate (its about time for a vacation after all of that training), the runner up will receive a custom GMAU training kit, and all finalists are receiving a special edition "Challenge T-Shirt." Here is an overview of the challenge and prizes.

And now, the finalists. Take some time to visit their blog or youtube channel to see what their 90 day challenge was like. Watch their rank exam video, and take notes for yourself. And then, login to your GMAU student account and vote for the winner! Are you not an active GMAU student yet, today is a great day to being your own challenge.

Nathan Douglas

Jonas Bieri

Conray Paul van Biljon

Adam Bein

Matthew Allen

Ambreen Khan-Evans

Voting Begins Now!

If you are an official (active) GMAU student, you will be able to cast a vote. Consider the student's overall challenge. Read their blog or watch a few of their video updates. Contrast their improvement over the challenge to their test. Take into account their testing video, and overall journey. Thanks for voting!

The Participants of the 90 Day Challenge (Follow and Encourage Your Fellow Students!)

We are so excited to see that 35 students have entered the GMAU 90 Day Student Challenge. We were able to donate $350 to GlobalGiving, as promised, to help alleviate hunger and disaster relief. Now, the real work begins. Each and every student will wake up in the morning, with a real goal in their mind and body. What can I do today to get better? How hard will I push in this class, in this practice, in this punch, in this kata, in this defense? 

I encourage you to learn more about the students who are participating in the challenge. Like, share, and comment on their blog posts and video updates. Let them know about your own struggles and victories. We are all on this journey of self-improvement together, especially via the vehicle of the martial arts. Here are the participants:

Robert Hughes

Nathan Douglas

  • Ultimate Bo
  • Next Rank: Black Chevron
  • Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada
  • Youtube Channel

Spencer Bath

Derek Smith

Calvin Couch

Jonas Bieri

Conray Paul van Biljon

Cruz Uriarte

Theresa Kammermeier

Tom Hotz

  • Ultimate Bo & Shotokan Karate
  • Next Ranks: Yellow Chevron & Yellow Belt
  • Wakefield, Massachusetts, United States
  • Youtube Channel

Sara Erickson

Andrew Darragh

  • Shotokan Karate
  • Next Rank: Purple Belt
  • Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • Youtube Channel

Tanguy De Backer

  • Shotokan Karate & Ultimate Bo
  • Next Rank: Black Belt & Yellow Chevron
  • Namur, Belgium
  • Youtube Channel

Adam Bein

Christopher Beckman

  • Shotokan Karate
  • Next Rank: Orange Belt
  • Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, United States
  • Instagram

Jill Connolly

Michael D. Milson

Joe Calamaio

  • Shotokan Karate
  • Next Rank: Yellow Belt
  • San Antonio Viejo, Texas, United States
  • Youtube Channel

Rachelle Gipson

  • Shotokan Karate
  • Next Rank: Yellow
  • Burlington, Wisconsin, United States
  • Youtube Channel

Justin Mitchell

  • Shotokan Karate
  • Next Rank: 3rd Kyu Brown Belt
  • Greensboro, North Carolina, United States
  • Youtube Channel

Shalini Gupta

  • Shotokan Karate
  • Next Rank: Yellow Belt
  • Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

Matthew Allen

Andrew Toscano

Margrett Toscano

Paul Gorvin

Oliver Majchrzak

Oliver Sayago

Maria Perez

Chris Shoemaker

  • Ultimate Bo
  • Next Rank: Yellow Chevron
  • Jackson, Mississippi, United States
  • Youtube Channel

Sofya Alsalman

  • Ultimate Bo
  • Next Rank: Yellow Chevron
  • Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  • Youtube Channel

Stanley "Doug" Rhoades

Kathleen Ramirez

Ambreen Khan-Evans

Amanda Reimers

There we have it, what a great group of students who have entered the challenge. Keep in mind that the participants will be updating you with a new blog post or youtube video every week, throughout the 90 day challenge. Their goal is submit their next rank exam before the time is up. In late December, we will open up voting. You will be able to vote on the best student, based upon their rank exam video. 

Please take time to visit their blogs, and channels. Subscribe and follow students that you want to encourage and root on, leave comments, and give each other a little push in the right direction. Learning and mastering martial arts at home is not easy. It requires so much more internal self-discipline. With a local martial arts school, you have certain days of the week that you know you have to show up for class, you could drag yourself through the door, but your instructor will teach you and get you moving. We try to do the same thing for the GMAU students, but, ultimately it is up to them (you) to turn on your phone/tablet/TV/computer, choose a class, and start training. 

Remember, the first place winner will receive a $400 credit to the cruiseline of their choice (you'll want to take a relaxing vacation after all of this training), the runner-up receives a custom GMAU training kit, and all who complete the challenge will receive a special limited edition t-shirt. Let the challenge begin!

Can You Learn Martial Arts at Home Without a Partner?

I feel like I just opened up a can of worms. Well, let’s let them all out, then. To properly answer this question, I would like for you to take into account two variables: the martial art style being learned, and the goal for learning this martial art. These answers can range from a stay-at-home mom wanting to finally reach black belt in shotokan karate (because she had to stop at blue in college), to a police officer wanting to increase his personal knowledge of self-defense for true on-the-job application with krav maga. And everything in-between.

So, let’s break this down. Many critics would immediately claim that all martial arts are combative in nature, and thus need hands-on sparring practice in order for the style to be properly learned and mastered. This is not entirely true, with some martial arts teetering more on the “arts” side, or even “movement arts” side of the spectrum. We can see this with the rise in martial arts demonstrations, tricking, tournament competitions, and movement arts like tai chi or qi gong for health revitalization.

Otherwise, most martial arts are learned most effectively with some hands-on practice with a good training partner, a class, or in live experiences. A live training partner is reactive, dynamic, and can help you to practice many different possible outcomes. Feeling actual resistance to your strikes, bobbing, moving, bouncing, footwork, strength, and flow can arise with a live partner.

But what if you do not have a training partner to practice and learn with at home? Many people have the desire to learn martial arts in an effective and realistic manner, but also work full time, have a family, and many other responsibilities. You might live in a rural area, far from a martial arts school, work odd hours, or not have a school nearby that teaches the art that you would like to learn. This does not mean you should give up.

Here are my recommendations for learning martial arts at home without a partner:

  1. Find a qualified home study course or online martial arts program. One that has comprehensive video instruction (with multiple angles, breakdown, drills, and opportunities for home learning) and that has some sort of instructor interaction. If you are going to be learning on your own, you will need a guided system, and definitely a qualified black belt that can check your progress, give you feedback, and corrections.
  2. When training along with the videos, book, or your own regimen, be as self-aware as possible. Having a large body-size mirror in your training space will do a world of good in this department, as you can more easily check your alignment, hands and feet placement, stance, etc.
  3. Setup a great home “garage dojo.” By utilizing the right equipment, you can get proper resistance when practicing your strikes or you can even simulate attacks for blocking and reaction training. For striking practice, either get a hanging bag, a free-standing bag (like a wavemaster), or a B.O.B (a realistic body opponent bag).
  4. Be inventive with your training equipment. Do everything you can to create dynamic training situations. To work your blocks and counter-attacks, you could get a small recoil punching bag, or hang an old duffel bag from your ceiling. Any idea that you have for creating movement, and then forcing yourself to block without knowing in advance which strike is coming. If you are a real craftsman, you can probably come up with some interesting training apparatuses.
  5. Ask a family member to help. You might not have the “ideal” training partner to practice with, but that doesn’t mean your family cannot help. Ask your spouse to lay some attacks on you, and have some fun with it. Ask your son, daughter, aunt, cousin, or whoever, to pick up a pair of mitts and help you to practice for a few minutes. Just make it fun and guess what, you might have someone in your family that wants to train with you consistently!
  6. Go take a guest class, a private lesson, or attend a seminar. You might not be able to attend a martial arts school full time, but chances are, you can find a way to attend a class or schedule a private lesson once every few months, or at least a few times a year. Look for a school that is within driving distance, or make a trip to your association’s yearly training summit. Even just an hour of hands-on application of training, and feedback from a live instructor or partner will go a very, very long way in your overall growth and progression.
  7. Become involved in an online discussion board or martial arts community. If you are an enrolled online student, your online martial arts school should have some sort of forum for you to take part in. This allows you to ask compelling questions, get great ideas, and hear success stories from other students like yourself, who train with grit and self-reliance on a weekly basis.
  8. Film yourself for a critical review. Setup your phone on a smart-phone tripod mount, have some hold it, or just lean it against something, and film yourself. Watch yourself demonstrating the techniques or drill, and then compare this to your instructor or the videos that you are learning from. Take detailed notes, and use these in your following training sessions. If you can, send this video to your grading instructor so that they can give you advice and corrections.
  9. Don’t give up, consistency is the key. And not just training consistently, but consistent improvement and the desire to make yourself better. If you start out by doing 10 push-ups in your warm up, doing a ½ mile run, and 30 crunches; then a month later you should have doubled this! You can stay consistent by setting up a training schedule. 2-3 times a week for 45 minutes is a good place to start. Ask that your family respect your time, and that it is a chance for you to focus on yourself, learn something new, and get away from the normal pressures, stress, and tasks of daily life. They will soon realize that the martial arts training is helping to transform you into a new person, one who is more chiseled, focused, and capable.
  10. Keep a training journal. Make sure and log every training session in an online journal or a written journal. Put down the date, how long you trained, and a brief description of what you did. Along with any emotions or takeaways that you have from the journey. This will help you to keep track of your constant progress, so that you are truly getting better, and not just repeating the same thing over and over again.

What if you are learning a self-defense or fighting art? Such as Krav Maga, Muay Thai Kickboxing, or Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?  Arts such as these can be worked some solo, but to truly ingrain and practice the techniques, you will need a training partner. Having a good training partner makes a world of difference (that might be an entirely different post). With a martial art like Krav Maga, you can practice combatives solo, and get repetitions and embed the defensive techniques into your muscle-memory. But, you will need to find a good training partner to work with, even if you just meet up once a week for some intense reality drills.

In conclusion, I ask that you heavily consider the martial art that you are learning, and why you are learning it. If you are in the military, clearly, you need live hands-on practice; as your life depends on it. If you want to use martial arts as a form of purposeful fitness, and learn something along the way, perhaps solo training could work for you. If you want to grade and earn rank, solo practice, instructor support, and some form of live practice could be a good combination. With so many new tools in the internet, books, DVDs, training equipment, and a great deal of will-power and self-observation, you have the power in your hands to make great progress at home in your martial arts journey.