If you provided negative answers to any of these questions, the problem might be that you’re working hard instead of working smart. In martial arts, as well as in life, it’s important to progress toward your goals, yes, but is it worth it to burn yourself out in the process?
We all go through periods of fatigue and self-doubt in our martial arts training, but if you let them dominate you, you eventually won’t train at all–never mind miss out on that next tournament win or major promotion.
This article by Jesse Enkamp, a playful writer if I’ve ever seen one, shows that having fun and being creative are the best ways to become better at your art. And Ryron Gracie, founder of the KeepItPlayful movement, advocates we give up ego and position when rolling to better learn to survive bad situation in real life. It’s also a great way to train everyday well into your 90’s like his grandfather Helio Gracie! Check out this great “interview“. It is as instructive as it is fun.
If you watch this video from the recent Metamoris grappling tournament, you can see the Ryron Gracie practices what he preaches; he keeps things relaxed and playful even against world-class competitor Andre Galvao, and he emphasizes fighting “not to lose”.
Many argue that this was a Gracie-sponsored tournament and the rules benefited their style of fighting. But doesn’t that prove the point even more?
It’s the time of year when people make new resolutions, and I urge you to resolve to Keep it Playful. Chances are, you won’t be winning the ADCC or defending a UFC belt anytime soon. But if you watch Marcello Garcia and Anderson Silva train, it’s easy to see that a relaxed, playful approach works even for the greats! My advice is to try to keep your training as light and playful as possible. It will lead to fewer injuries, faster learning, and more fun!