How to recognize boredom in Martial Arts and how to overcome it

Boredom and dissatisfaction are two sensations that we have all experienced abundantly in many situations.

However, while dissatisfaction – as well as its twin, frustration – can be a state of mind that pushes us to find a way to grow and overcome it, boredom has more dangerous characteristics.

Here are some wake up calls that it would be good to recognize in time. They are described in relation to the practice on a tatami, especially Aikido. But if we replace Aikido with any other situation, we are convinced that we are not going too far off topic.

First: it seems to you that every training is always the same. In the beginning everything seemed new to you and now it seems to you that everything you do is always the same. Same faces, same exercises.

Second: you think to already know what the sensei will tell you and what speeches your teammates will make in the locker room. It is a very particular alarm bell, which we have seen in various situations. For example, during seminars with renowned masters we were seated with people describing in advance what the sensei would have said and explained. A bit like always watching the same movie and knowing the plot by heart.

Third: going to the Dojo; meeting fellow practitioners; going to a seminar weighs more and more on you. It is a symptom of an advanced state of boredom.

Fourth (and most dangerous of all): you stop talking and withdraw into yourself without communicating. It’s a serious symptom, which usually accompanies another: feeling perpetually judged by others and using this motivation to confine yourself in increasingly narrow spaces. Referred to the practice on the tatami this translates into almost exclusive work always with the same people, in not engaging in proposals that aim at pushing the practitioner outside the borders of a known environment.

All of these symptoms, if not treated in time, inevitably lead to progressive states of boredom that lead to…Going back to being bored on the couch at home, in front of the TV. Maybe complaining because there’s never anything interesting to do.

So let’s see what antidotes can be used to remedy both the symptoms and the main evil, namely boredom.

First: communicate! It doesn’t matter what you say (rather: it matters, but the meaning is different), the important thing is to always find a dialogue. Translated in the dojo: practice with everyone, try to talk to everyone in the locker room and, if you are able to, also in spaces throughout the week. It takes so little! A message, a text. You don’t have to be a Nobel Prize winner for literature to communicate. And don’t forget: the sensei is there to communicate what he has to give you. Use him. Then maybe he too likes to exchange a few words that aren’t ikkyo’s explanation…

Second: smile! Without becoming brainless individuals who smile even when a companion is thrown against the wall… But let’s remember the enormous power that a smile can trigger. It is one of the gifts that opens more doors than you think. And it disposes us and the others to enter into relationships in a more relaxed way.

Third: change the scenery once in a while. Seminars are made to understand that there are many people like us who do the same things we do but perhaps with a different style. After all: at home we all prepare our own meals. So why do we sometimes go to a restaurant to eat? It’s the same thing: it’s not the need to eat that drives us. But to try different flavors and then return to everyday life with an extra experiential baggage to share.

Fourth: occasionally mirror yourself. However beautiful you are, very good, very intelligent and irresistible so that even God occasionally asks you for advice on how to run his business, maybe you too have some flaws. And if you have it, you can tolerate it a little more in others.

Fifth: be as curious as monkeys. Monkeys do not officially practice Martial Arts and cannot read. This might at first glance make them very similar to some martial artists. However, their proverbial curiosity is a good example of how everyone in the group is interested in each other. Expand your ability to analyze what you see, hear, feel. Maybe your Sensei is also in a tired phase and your curiosity becomes a stimulus for everyone.

In short, with a little attention, boredom can be removed. Or rather, before we get bored, we can discover so many new things that boredom can’t overcome us.

Disclaimer: photo by Frans van Heerden from Pexels

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