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I’m pretty sure that 80% of martial arts students view their martial arts training the wrong way. Most students sadly see everything as a win or lose situation. Nothing in between, win or lose is it, more or less. Very black and white as you can tell.

Me personally, I don’t like that mindset. I think it’s a very self destructive way to view your training. It makes your progress feel like your battling uphill. That’s no fun.

I believe there’s a right way to look at your training. It’s a heck of lot more then did you win or did you lose. It should be:

“Did have a good training session? Did you win some? Did you lose some? Okay great either way, now the most important question….did you learn something?

All of your training should be geared toward learning and gaining a better understanding of your martial arts skill set.

The best fighters/students are always searching for ways to improve upon their last training session. They look at each workout as a learning experience.

I know that when I train, whether it’s BJJ, Muay Thai or MMA, I wanna know what worked and what didn’t. I also want to see what I gained from the nights training and how I could have done better.

I, like many others pro level mixed martial artists seek out problems and keep moving forward. I like this mindset a whole lot more.

The folks that end up having issues are the ones who have a bad workout then immediately assume they suck and aren’t getting better.

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Training w/ The Best Fighters is Another Great Way to Learn and Hone Your MMA Skills. Here I’m Pictured w/ Sean Sherk After a Brutal Training Session

The reality is you’re going to have lots of training sessions that suck or at the very least weren’t what you were hoping they’d be. It is what it is.

No one likes to have an off night but the best way to turn an off night into something meaningful is to find out what caused things to go south and fix it. Even if it’s not fixed right away at least spend some time studying it and, here’s the key word again, LEARN from it.

Pretty soon you’ll start to relieve that your bad nights aren’t so bad after all. I mean shoot my bad nights are better then most students good ones. That’s didn’t happen by accident I can assure you. 23 years of training have made most of my training sessions better then most 🙂

Let’s talk about some ways in which you can get the most out of your crappy mat sessions. Below is my cliff notes version of a few things that make a huge difference.

Danny Ives’ Killer Tips on How To Become a Better Learner From Not So Great Nights Training:

  • Use a notebook. Take notes during and immediately after your classes. Study the notes and look for common program areas. Then ask your instructors for feedback and tips on ways to solve the programs.
  • Ask Questions! This sort of follows along with the notebook thing. Never be afraid to ask instructors and fellow students questions about things like techniques, positions and strategy. You’ll be surprised at how willing everyone will be to help you get better. At my academy here in Arnold MD, we all look out for each other.
  • Video yourself training. What mistakes are you making? Nothing is going to scream it out to you like a video. The video won’t lie. Watch yourself training and look for mistakes then bust out the questions. Oh and don’t look only at what you did wrong but also pay a lot of attention to what YOU DID RIGHT.
  • Use situational training. Putting yourself into tough situations and then working out of them is a great way to not only get a heck of a workout but also to gain a better overall understand of the positions and what works for you.

I could go on and on but you get the idea. The bullet point is this:

If you only view your martial arts training in the “win/lose” categories then your missing the whole idea behind martial arts. Martial arts is about learning.

Every time you leave your mix martial arts school you should have learned something. That something doesn’t have to be new, it can be old as dirt but as long as it helps you learn it’s like solid gold.

It’s when you never start trying to learn or have stopped learning that you’ve lost. Keep an open mind and embrace the process.

One more thing then I’ve gotta run out of here. Learning should be fun. You need to enjoy learning new things. Many times that means getting the crap kicked out of you but in the end, you need to enjoy that to. Have fun and fall in love with the process.

If you stick to all the stuff above I’ve got no doubt you’ll make it to black belt one day.

Below I included some videos to motivate you. Well motivate and of course the word of the day….learn!





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