The secret of long-term progress in Martial Arts

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The secret of long-term progress in Martial Arts

The topic of the sixth episode of the Martial Podcast is “The secret of long-term progress in martial arts“. As always you can either listen to the audio file or read the full transcript below.

Hi and welcome to episode No. 6 of the Martial Podcast. My name is Martin Grünstäudl, but please just call me Martin.

In case you don´t know me yet: I´m a martial arts and self defense instructor from Austria, which is a little country in Central Europe by the way. But if you want to know more about me, then visit my website There you´ll get to know me a little better.

Yeah, but I´m here today to speak about a very interesting topic I think, as I suppose you want to have fast and ongoing progress in your respective Martial Art. Whether it is Wing Chun, Escrima, Karate or any other Martial Art out there.

And today I want to share a secret with you – a secret by which you can expect really long-term progress in your martial art. Ultimately you will get better than almost anyone else by putting it into practice for years and years to come.

But what is that secret?

In fact, it is a very simple one …

Establish Mini-Habits!

Yeah, that´s right: Make a habit of training daily. But don´t plan to train at least for an hour every day if you are not a professional martial arts trainer like me. As you would abandon it soon thereafter if you make such unrealistic resolutions.

Instead it is better to go for mini-habits. But what do I mean by mini-habits?

I mean this:

Set a goal of training at least 5 minutes a day.

And make these 5 minute training an absolute priority every day. Don´t end your day without training for these 5 minutes.

Probably you now think: But why just 5 minutes? How should 5 minutes of daily training be the secret of long-term progress in martial arts?

Yeah, I´m glad that you asked …

Of course 5 minutes are not that much. But for two reasons establishing this mini-habit will make the difference between mastering your martial art and remaining mediocre.

Reason No. 1

These 5-minutes of daily training are additional to your normal training regimen.

I didn´t say that you should JUST train 5 minutes a day and to not go to your normal training sessions any longer.

What I mean is this: Go to your martial arts school or dojo every week – whether this is once a week, twice a week or even more frequently.

And additionally to that, train every day at home – either alone or with a training partner. And I really mean every single day. Train for five minutes each and every day from now on.

But now let´s come to …

Reason No. 2

Reason No. 2 why establishing mini-habits are the secret to long-term progress in martial arts is, because I don´t say that you should train JUST 5 minutes and not any longer.

Instead I said:

Train AT LEAST 5 minutes per day – every day.

So some days you will do a quick training and stop it after those five minutes. As you are already exhausted because your work day or your day at home with your kids was very exhausting and you don´t have the physical and mental capacity to train any longer. And that´s totally okay.

What´s not okay though is that you skip your training altogether.

Because there are no excuses any more. Even if you don´t feel like it on a particular day – do it anyway. Then just train these five minutes and leave it there. At least you trained on that day even though you didn´t feel like it. And that is so great. You trained!

And that´s the reason by the way, why I recommend to set a goal for only 5 minutes of daily training – and not 30 minutes or even an hour. Because on such days you are capable of doing a quick 5 minute workout. But you won´t be able to train for an hour on such a day.

And the danger of skipping a single training is, that you form a new habit. A habit of skipping and ultimately a habit of NOT training each day. So instead go for only 5 minutes and make sure that there are no excuses any more. Even if you have a cold: Train anyway.

And if you are feverish, then meditate. Yeah I´m really serious. Even if you are feverish – don´t make any excuses. Of course don´t do an exhausting workout in that case. But you can meditate – even lying in bed. So even then: You are able to adhere to your good habit of training daily.

… … …

So that´s in case you have a bad day and you are unmotivated.

But the real secret of long-term progress in any martial art lies in those days where you feel good. Because …

If you have made a habit of training daily, than you can use the power of momentum.

And the power of momentum is, that it´s only hard to START your training. If you have already trained for a few minutes, chances are you keep at it and you will forget about time. And all of a sudden you don´t train just your five minutes but you train like an hour or even two.

And that´s where the magic happens. That´s when you start to really get better in your respective martial art.

… … …

But now I want to give you a last tip. And that is …

Facilitate the process of training daily!

Not only plan to train daily from now on. Facilitate it. Make it as easy as possible for you to follow through.

So consider the perfect time of the day to train. Which time of the day is the most likely that you will train more than five minutes? So in case you have a good day.

Or perhaps you are the kind of person who needs to do it early on in the morning or otherwise you won´t do it altogether? Especially in case of a bad day.

So what I want to say:

Don´t just plan to train. Also plan WHEN and HOW to train.

It could help to train at the same time every day – so it is as easy as possible for you to make a habit of it.

And please: Don´t plan to begin tomorrow. Train your first five minutes NOW. If you had the time to listen to this or read this, then you also have the time to train now for at least five minutes. Don´t put it off until later – do it now!


Do it now!

… … …

And let me wish you a good training – every single day!

So good bye and I hope you come round the next time to another episode of the Martial Podcast.

Sifu Martin Grünstäudl –


Other episodes of the Martial Podcast:


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