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ATA Excellence Martial Arts

We Teach Grit...Do You?

Posted: January 26, 2017

Studies have shown that grit is one of the key indicators for children who will grow up and be successful. So what is grit?

Angela Duckworth is a Ph.D. in psychology and author of the book Grit: The Power of Passion & Perseverance and she define’s grit as, “passion and perseverance for especially long-term goals.”

When talking about her book she said, “So, the message of the book is not that grit is a good thing in particular. The message of the book is that like so many other things about us that are good, we can do something to intentionally cultivate grit in ourselves and in others that we care about.”

The first step to developing grit in Duckworth’s opinion is having an interest in something. This seems pretty obvious and at ATA Excellence, we see lots of students who stumble upon our training and really start to develop a deep interest. Our students that stick through the first few belts they have an inherent interest and a budding passion for the training.

Inevitably all students go through a time when their interests wane. Duckworth says, “…it is human nature to get bored of things and to seek the novel. And I think that one of the skills that one must develop in life, if one cares not to be a dilettante, if it’s a goal of yours to become expert in something, one of the skills is to learn to substitute nuance for novelty.”

She acknowledges that the idea of substituting nuance for novelty is a skill that must be developed but if it isn’t we revert to our natural instinct to find the newest thing to entertain us and we don’t develop grit.

We emphasize this first part of grit development at ATA Excellence with our first pillar of excellence being, Follow Through. We repeatedly talk about how important it is to start strong and finish strong. Our goal is never for our students to quit the minute they get bored. We want them to understand from the beginning that their training is about more than kicking and punching. It’s about developing a lifestyle focused on excellence and as part of that, they need to follow through on their commitments.

The next step in developing grit is deliberate practice. This is more than just mindlessly repeating things over and over again. It’s the idea of having a coach or expert helping you to focus on certain areas to deliberately improve through regular practice.

We discuss this with our students in our second Pillar of Excellence: Attention to Detail. We want our students to understand that 80% correct isn’t the goal. Each time they come to class they need to focus on not just the macro but the micro of their training. Excellence (and grit) are in the details of deliberate practice.

Next in the development of grit is purpose. There must be a connection to the activity you are working on to something greater. In our training, this is obvious with our leadership and life skills training. We connect the hard work of learning the kicks and punches of martial arts with the much deeper purpose of mental self-improvement and leadership development.

The final step in developing grit is hope, the idea that despite setbacks you can achieve your goals. This is helped by having a team around you who can encourage you and help you build positive beliefs in yourself. One of my favorite parts of ATA Excellence is the community of like-minded people who are there to help each other and encourage others to achieve their own personal victories.

After looking over the steps to developing grit and what we do at ATA Excellence Martial Arts I’m thrilled that our training is the perfect breeding ground for grit in kids and adults.

If grit is something you want to improve in your family contact us today!.