child in martial arts uniform sitting still and paying attention

Martial Arts Teaches The 3 Steps to Development

In any situation, from mathematics to reading, from baseball to checkers, or from video games to martial arts, there are three steps to development:

  • Step 1:  Learn — We have to learn something before we can get better.  Often, people will attempt to dive right into something without first analyzing it and gathering knowledge about it.  And almost 100% of the time, those people fail.  Imagine knowing nothing about car engines whatsoever, but trying to repair one.  Chances of success are almost zero.  First, we have to learn about what we are doing.


  • Step 2:  Improve — Once we learn something, our next step is to improve.  Many people think learned = done, but that is far from true.  Success isn’t completed in the learn phase … it requires significant improvement first.  Suppose professional athletes went to one practice in the beginning of their childhood, learned the game, then never practiced again.  Or imagine a medical student attending one class on removing a tumor, then immediately attempting that procedure on a living person.  No one reaches success without improvement, and no one stays at the top without continuously improving their profession.


  • Step 3:  Perfect — Ultimately, in any situation, the goal is perfection.  Sometimes, that goal is unattainable, and is simply a fictional target that we need to continue working towards.  For example, imagine an Olympic runner in the 100 meter dash.  Technically, perfection would be to reach run the 100 meters in 0.00 seconds, which is obviously impossible.  However, world records are constantly set and constantly broken.  Runners keep getting faster, striving towards perfection, even though it cannot be reached.  On the other hand, sometimes perfection is achievable, such as taking a test at school.  On a test, you can score a perfect 100, and hence that needs to be your goal.  Always make your goal perfection.  To try to score a 100 on a test, and end up getting a 94 is still a good thing.  But to set a goal to get a 94 on a test means that you have already planned to miss certain answers.  Setting a lower bar isn’t the answer to success.  Set your bar at the top, and then see how close you can come to reaching it.

So ask yourself, “Where would you like to grow and develop in your life?”  Then, follow these steps.



About Cliff Mostiler:  Cliff is a sixth-degree black belt and master instructor.  He has a Bachelor of Science in Engineering, a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics, and a Bachelor of Arts in Communications.  In addition, Cliff has is Juris Doctorate of Law as an attorney, and is also a licensed realtor.  Cliff believes heavily in education, and the options and opportunities that education provides.  He has pursued teaching martial arts as his passion for over 20 years, and continues to serve his community every day.  If asked, Cliff will say, “I am a personal life coach for kids and adults.  I use martial arts as the tool to teach them, but this is far less about blocking, kicking, and punching, and far more about training for a successful life.  I train champions everyday, but their skills in martial arts are simply a side-note to what they achieve in their lives.”

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