Whether you are looking to work out your basic gym or you decide to venture into a dojo of some kind for your workout there is one key element which keeps people consistent. Everybody has different schedules and different goals when they decide to start a fitness regiment, and each school has a different method of instruction, if any at all. Most martial arts schools are known for instilling discipline and strict instruction, to attempt to gain maximum efforts from the students. The important element which makes all students in martial arts schools looking to continue striving for the next goal is PROGRESSION.
It is very simple; if somebody is not progressing they will have no interest in continuing their workout routine. Whether their bench press is not getting stronger or their not understanding how to throw a proper jab, the key to ongoing training is progression. Of course there are many other factors when somebody decides to pursue a fitness dream such as lack of finances or certain health ailments, but once somebody has crossed the starting line to reaching his/her fitness goal, progression is the only thing keeping them going. In the martial arts world, this can get very tricky. Some schools of certain martial arts disciplines (*cough* tae-kwon do *cough*) are notorious for handing out promotions solely based on time training, and not progression. If somebody shows up to a kickboxing class every day but never progresses he/she does not deserve a promotion. Most of these instances are based on business, and when a new belt is achieved there is a convenient belt fee attached to it. If these people at these schools were never receiving belts, perhaps their lack of progression would ultimately be realized.
This previously stated idea does not mean that everybody who trains at a martial arts school needs to be a championship caliber fighter, every person is different and unique goals are set for every student. A gym like Tiger Schulmann’s MMA in Elmwood Park is a perfect example of a school that values progression. Promotion is dependent on two factors, attendance and progression. If somebody shows up to class under Sensei David Tirelli every week but clearly does not show the effort needed to improve and reach his/her goals, the promotion will never be achieved. Every belt has a set number of stripes awarded based on attendance, which helps keep the student conscious of how far promotion is and what he/she needs to do to achieve it. As the belt level rises, so do the expectations. Sensei Tirelli currently has a high red belt (third highest color), for nearly six months, due to the fact that this particular young man is not ready to be promoted to the next level. He has come a long way, but ultimately it would not be fair to him and to others if he was awarded a very high level belt prematurely. The most important moral of this story is that this particular young man understands why he needs to work harder and continue. He understands that at Tiger Schulmann’s no students are entitled to promotion, and instead their progression is the difference maker.