What Makes Learning Martial Arts Hard? | A Holistic View

Martial arts has developed in many different ways over the centuries and is still growing today. People practice martial arts for a myriad of reasons, including self-defense, competition, and fitness. Martial arts can seem like a simple task to learn, but it’s not as easy as it seems.

Martial arts aren’t just a simple set of techniques to practice. They can be physically demanding, emotionally uncomfortable, and require discipline to effectively learn and master them. Martial arts can push you out of your comfort zone and force you to deal with frustration and disappointment.

Martial arts training can be difficult and there are many reasons it can be challenging to learn. This article will explore the different factors that can make learning martial arts difficult to learn.

What Makes Learning Martial Arts Hard?

Learning martial arts can be hard since techniques and movements can feel foreign to a beginner. Other significant factors are that some can find the physical requirements or mental focus requirements challenging. Finding an effective instructor can also be difficult.

Time Commitment for Martial Arts Training

When it comes to learning martial arts, one of the biggest obstacles is the time commitment to training. It takes consistent training time to become proficient in anything, and martial arts is no exception. Many people simply don’t have the bandwidth for the time and effort dedication required.

However, you can see progress in implementing a sustainable weekly martial arts training frequency.

Those who commit will find that martial arts can be extremely rewarding, both physically and mentally.

Requires Physical Exertion

Another thing that makes martial arts challenging to learn is that it requires physical exertion. This can be a challenge for many people, particularly if they’re not used to being active. In order to improve your fitness and effectively learn martial arts, it is sometimes necessary to push yourself physically. Pushing yourself physically can be uncomfortable for many people, especially those without prior athletic experience.

Long-Term Dedication

It can take years of dedicated training to reach a high skill level. Having such a long period of time to mastery is one of the things that makes martial arts hard. You have to be willing to dedicate yourself to the long-term goal of becoming a master of martial arts.

This means putting in the time and effort day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year. It’s not easy to maintain that level of dedication without significant self-discipline, which can be somewhat ironic since self-discipline can be built through martial arts training. Still, it’s necessary to built this skill if you want to achieve mastery in martial arts.

Physical Limitations and Injury Chances

There’s no doubt that learning martial arts can be physically tough sometimes. If you have physical limitations it can be difficult to train certain techniques and be comfortable at all times in martial arts classes.

Bodily limitations are a significant factor in how difficult martial arts can be. If you have any physical limitations, keeping up with the training can sometimes be tough. This is why many people with disabilities or chronic illnesses often find martial arts to be too difficult. However, many people in these situations can still find effective ways to train with thoughtful and consistent effort.

Additionally, you will need to keep an eye on moderating your injury risk through proper recovery and cross-training with proper strength training choices like calisthenics or lifting to make you perform better and reduce your overall chances of injury.

Chances of injury are also a major concern for many people. While martial arts training can help you become more resilient to injuries, there’s always the risk of getting hurt. This is especially true if you’re training for a competition.

Difficult for People That Lack Basic Fitness and Conditioning

Martial arts do require physical fitness and conditioning but you do not need to be fit to start martial arts. Simply training martial arts will usually result in enough fitness and conditioning gains over time to make practicing martial arts more comfortable.

If you’re not physically fit, you’ll likely tire quickly and be unable to execute these techniques properly for as many repetitions as you would like, which can be frustrating and slow your learning process down. Martial arts also require mental focus and concentration alongside physical exertion. Luckily, mental conditioning usually builds up alongside improvements in physical conditioning.

Why Do People Quit Martial Arts Early?

There are many aspects of martial arts training that can lead to students quitting martial arts early. Often, people will simply cite boredom or lack of progress as a reason for quitting, but often it has to do with a lack of commitment or the costs simply being too high for their life preferences.

Not Prepared for the Physical and Mental Demands of Training

One of the main reasons people quit martial arts is that they’re not prepared for the physical and mental demands of training. This is especially true in combat sports that are more physically rigorous like Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, or MMA.

Many martial arts require a lot of physical conditioning and discipline to be successful. In addition, martial arts training can be mentally intense and require focus and concentration that might be used up in other aspects of a student’s life, which prevents it from being as relaxing as they would prefer.

Lack of Discipline

It’s hard to initially maintain a regular practice schedule and keep up with the required skills if you’re not disciplined. This can be especially difficult for adults with other responsibilities like work and family. If training is important to a student, they will set aside time to train.

Ultimately, keeping up attendance will make it require less discipline and effort to keep up with the training routine over time since habits do not require the same level of willpower to execute.

Not Seeing Any Progress

Many people drop out of martial arts because they don’t see any progress. It’s obviously harder to keep going when you don’t feel like you’re improving and progressing.

Part of the problem is that martial art is the long-term commitment to reach mastery. When you first start a complex martial art, getting the burst of learning that comes with learning fundamentals feels great and keeps motivation higher.

Mastery can take much longer as techniques and overall goals become more difficult and complicated. It takes time to learn and master complex techniques and concepts. Many martial artists either lack the patience and consistency to achieve mastery or simply lose interest when the results become less visible.

Many people quit because of a mismatch in expectations of learning speed versus what a realistic learning speed actually is for the martial art in question. Getting clear on these expectations usually helps students keep working towards their progress.

Students can also get discouraged when comparing themselves to others who have been training for longer or who are picking it up faster. Everyone progresses at their own pace. Some people will learn faster than others, but any progress is progress.

Financial Concerns

Since martial arts takes a long time to master and training martial arts is not always the most affordable hobby to practice, life changes that alter financial situations can be significant for many martial arts students and lead to them deciding to walk away from the hobby temporarily or permanently when a simple look at adjusting their budget to include martial arts will allow them to continue training.

Does Martial Arts Make You Tougher?

Martial arts training can make you tougher. The physical and mental demands of learning martial arts can push you outside of your comfort zone and help you develop greater mental fortitude alongside gains in strength, stamina, and fighting ability.

However, martial arts isn’t just about becoming physically tougher. It’s also about developing discipline, focus, and control.

While these things may not make you physically tougher and show up in actual fighting ability, they can certainly help you become mentally and emotionally stronger, which is more useful in all aspects of life overall and makes you tough enough to achieve your more difficult goals that are wholly unrelated to martial arts.

In fact, using martial arts to improve your life overall and better face the challenges life has to offer is a great reason for people to choose martial arts as an activity.

Final Thoughts

Martial arts can be a tough hobby to learn and most average students will find it difficult to learn at first. With some dedication and discipline, martial arts can be learned and mastered by almost anybody. Ultimately, with strong habits and some conscientiousness and cross-training, most people can succeed in martial arts and reap all the associated benefits of training it.

For more check out Should You Learn Martial Arts? Benefits and Disadvantages


Hi, I'm Andre and I am the author of this website. I currently train primarily in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu but supplement with other grappling martial arts as well as help to coach my kid's blended grappling program.

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