I am 34 years old and I want to start a martial art for physical fitness and to bring some discipline to my daily routine.

Now before I join any martial art school, I want to test and prepare myself for it. In other words, if I pay the fees, I want to make sure I will go and train regularly.

Are there any discipline or will-power enhancing techniques/drills, that any martial art instructor might teach me, that I can practice at home?

  • 1
    The best way of making sure you will keep going to a class. Pick a class that you ENJOY.. then you will want to go every week
    – Collett89
    Oct 17, 2016 at 12:01

6 Answers 6


There's nothing about the question that's really specific to martial arts, so you can easily search online for tips on overcoming procrastination, and getting motivated. For example:

  • make a regular time for exercising, so it becomes a habit: if you're working out fairly intensely then your body will come to expect and want the exercise

  • build a routine around it, e.g. when you're coming home from school/work/the-pub(?), watch some youtube clips, or read a book/comic/magazine/anything about martial arts, to get you thinking about martial arts and how good it would be to improve your skills

  • take a bag with your training gear with you so you're going straight to the dojo after school/work/whatever, and you'll avoid that "wow, my couch is so comfy" problem getting back out your front door

    • if it doesn't make sense to take your gear with you, at least have it ready in advance: pre-packed near the front door
  • commit in advance to meeting people: at the end of one class when you're feeling enthused, assure people you'll be there next class, or arrange to meet them somewhere to go to the class together

  • write a blog or something about your experience of learning martial arts and share it online, so your family and friends know you're training and you'll want to keep going so they know you're not bludging instead

  • buy a punching bag or something so you can train with by yourself at home, and put Fist of Legend or whatever gets you pumped up on your ipad/phone/TV until you feel like training

  • get some friends around to train with, even if it's other exercise like jogging or stretching, or ask them just to hold a focus shield or mitt for you

  • use your spare time to train: e.g. stretch on the floor or do pushups while watching TV, and you'll want to get back to training to enjoy your improving kicks or punching power

  • use some friendly rivalry if it helps: tell yourself you won't let some other student who's joined after you overtake you, even though they're super keen and training hard, or try to catch up to someone; don't tell anyone what you're doing - it can be a private benchmark, and remember not to take it too seriously; catch up one skill at a time: e.g. this month you want to nail a specific technique or pattern/kata, or increase your push-up count by 10

  • if your gym has optional after-training partner exercises like say punching or kicking each other for conditioning, find a regular partner and you'll naturally feel pushed to keep pace

  • during each class try to pick up one thing from the instructor, a senior, or just observing yourself, and work on it at home so you feel motivated to put it into practice at the next class

  • enjoy helping the other students around you get into their training: that can be a great source of satisfaction and motivation for you too

  • make sure you're training enough that it's a significant part of your routine and consciousness... preferably at least twice a week, 3's much better but you needn't go to more than that initially.

  • do just a little bit of training before you sleep, even if it's mentally running through your techniques or patterns/kata while you're lying in bed: you mind will then be focusing on it during your sleep and you'll learn much faster and feel more motivated



The only discipline a martial art requires is the will to learn. That is it. Nothing more, nothing less. Any school that trains you to obey rules or a code of behaviour, using punishment to correct disobedience should be avoided at all costs1.

As to will-power enhancing techniques/drills, those are either mythical mumbo-jumbo that you are welcome to believe in or cult indoctrination which you should run away from. Either way, none of the techniques I have ever encountered are effective and are therefore a waste of time.

What you can and should practice is working towards enhancing your stamina, flexibility, and strength. You can do that at any gym or at home. There are countless books and web pages on the subject. Just make sure what you are doing is safe. However, none of those are prerequisites to joining a martial art school.

Prerequisite to joining a school.

The only prerequisite to joining a school is the will to go in and start learning.

The only will-power needed is to go to the next class no matter how tiered one is, what the weather is like, what's on TV, or what your friends are doing… Just go and train.

Just do it!

If you need motivation to get out of your house and train:

Shia LeBeof JUST DO IT source


While I agree with Sardathrion that there is no "will exercise" out there, there is something that you can do, and that's to set up a training routine and start it. Since you don't actually have martial arts training yet, and training on your own can result in bad habits, I would advise picking general stretching, calisthenics (general advice these days is to stretch after the calisthenics, or in a separate session, as stretching actually weakens your muscles for a time afterwards), or cardio. Many martial arts schools will also include these practices to ensure that students are properly warmed up before moving on to actual martial movements, and if you can't hold yourself to doing them, then there's a good chance you're not going to be able to motivate yourself to do so at an actual martial arts school.

I will add a caveat that this is not a perfect test as going to an external place to train has benefits and drawbacks in terms of commitment. On the plus side, the fact that you're paying in time and money to attend can motivate you to hold to it. On the other hand, the fact that it is in another location can make it easier to decide not to attend, especially after a long day at work where you may or may not have eaten properly. And, of course, martial arts might be more intriguing, or more difficult. But still, it's not a bad way to train up your willpower and to test yourself.


If you are concerned about your ability to see a martial arts class through, and you don't want to end up wasting time and money, there are things you can do to prepare yourself.

First, pick a regular workout time, preferably in the same time-frame as the classes for the martial art you want to train in. Create a personal workout routine which last about an hour (or whatever the normal class length is for the beginner classes you wish to attend). Start arranging your work and social calendars around these workout times, and continue doing this for a month, or two. Once you can stick to the times, dates, and prolonged exertion you have created for yourself, you will have proven you are capable of sticking to a class. It is through practice that you develop discipline and willpower.


The first step is to have some kind of drive to do what you're doing, which you seem to have:

I want to start a martial art for physical fitness and to bring some discipline to my daily routine

Cultivating discipline and will power is always easier when driven by some kind of inspiration.

But there is nothing that you can do before going to learn martial arts that will guarantee that you will stick it out. If you've done some other form of physical cultivation or exercise previously, and done that for some years, then this is probably the only indicator that you would have the will power and interest to continue doing something else similar.

Apart from this, your will power must be cultivated, and will be tested over time as you study. It will be tested when you have to face the inner conflict that comes up when you don't feel like training, but know that you should. And it will be cultivated when you overcome that conflict by simply going to train, despite not feeling like it, or having the desire to do some other thing that seems appealing but that will not bring you as much real benefit. (And the real test is sustained self-initiated practice, without relying on the support of a class.)

Bear in mind that this internal process is one of the major purposes of learning martial arts. And cultivating it through training yourself in the martial arts will allow it to flow into the rest of your life. To me, Gichin Funakoshi put it best when he said that karate was ultimately about "overcoming tangible and intangible obstacles". This is ultimately the same for any path by which we develop ourselves in some way, when we see the deeper purpose in it, not only the martial arts.


I've always found that native interest is what sustains me in practice. If you find an art that truly interests you and engages your mind, you'll actually want to practice.

The exercise also makes you feel quite good, so there will be a natural draw to continue training once you start.

The most important thing, however, is to find the right teacher, and ideally, a community of positive students. (In some sense, as you become more devoted, these people will become a kind of family.)

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.