The Different Paths Martial Artists Can Take

Two people practicing martial arts in Ann Arbor

What are your goals as a martial artist?

How can you excel beyond being a student?

Receiving a black belt isn’t the final goal in martial arts. There’s always room for improvement and growth! There are many different paths a martial artist can take to continue studying and keeping traditional martial arts alive. Here are a few of them:

Remain a Student

Not every student wants to be a competitor or an instructor. It's perfectly fine to continue as a student, learning as you go and being a good citizen of the dojo. Remember to have goals and improvements in mind to keep your experience challenging and fulfilling!

Become a Competitor

For those who have the competitive spirit, going to martial arts tournaments can be a lot of fun! Tournaments usually contain a sparring component, such as kumite or randori, and a kata component. It can be inspiring to meet other talented martial artists, learn from them, and compete against them! 

Become Part of a Demonstration Team

If you like the spotlight, you can become part of your school's demonstration team. Demonstration teams can travel to different dojos and competitions to showcase their skills. You’ll get a chance to represent your dojo, do dynamic performances of kata or dramatic sparring sequences, and impress your audience.

Become an Assistant Instructor

The path toward becoming an instructor usually starts with assisting other instructors. It allows you to learn and gives you experience as a leader. Your Sensei will be able to assess your skills and guide you toward become an even better leader. You’ll also get to assist other martial artists, help them improve, and be engaged with the community.

Become an Instructor

Those who do well as assistants may sometimes have a chance to become instructors. It's a great way to give back once you've been in your martial art for several years, and many instructors find that teaching others helps them get better, too! 

Start a Club

Your dojo may wish to start satellite clubs. This means you’ll be teaching and representing your dojo at other locations. If there are no openings to become an instructor within your dojo, starting a club or teaching at an existing club could be a good alternative.

Start a Dojo

If you have the spirit of an entrepreneur, you may want to start your own dojo. It's good idea to teach in an existing dojo for a few years to get experience. Be aware that running a business means doing a lot of things that aren't martial arts, like bookkeeping, marketing, people management, planning, etc.

Build an Organization

Once you're very experienced, you may want to help the world of martial arts and give back by contributing to an organization or building a new one. This can take several forms - such as a martial arts association, a federation of like-minded dojos, or a single brand with a few or a lot of dojos under it. 

Suino-Sensei, JMAC’s Director, says: “Martial arts is one of the most worthwhile activities human beings can pursue. The long-term arc of the lifetime martial artist almost always tends toward good – good health, good relationships, a sense of community, and building skills that help improve lives. Each of us is unique, and these are some of the paths we can take on our journey!”

Study Martial Arts in Ann Arbor at an Encouraging Dojo

Do you have big martial art dreams?

Looking for a supportive dojo?

At JMAC, we thrive together! We’re a thriving dojo that aims to create a safe, respectful, and encouraging space for all, teaching karate, iaido, Nihon jujutsu, and judo.

Contact JMAC today to study martial arts in Ann Arbor.