As a martial arts coach and more importantly as a father, I am always looking for ways to improve my students performance and help my daughters lead their best life. I read a book recently that was just an amazing read called Mindset: By Carol Dweck.

Dr. Dweck has published lots of scholarly work around the idea of either a “fixed mindset” or “growth mindset”. This is really a set of beliefs that students have that are

Growth Mindset
I can learn anything I want to.
When I am frustrated I persevere.
I want to challenge myself.
When I fail, I learn.
Tell me I try hard.
If you succeed I am inspired.
My effort and attitude determine everything.

Fixed Mindset
I’m either good at it, or I am not.
When I am frustrated I give up.
I dont like to be challenged.
When I fail I am no good.
Tell me I’m smart.
If you succeed I feel threatened.
My abilities determine everything.

Obviously we want to encourage our son’s and daughter to develop the growth mindset. However a great activity like Martial Arts can help your child put into practice these learning habit.

How does martial arts develop the growth mindset.

  1. “Winning and losing is an event not a person” in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu we have a saying that you either win or learn, there is no losing.
  2. We are experts at praising effort and not the person. “Geez, you tried so hard to kick that paddle, but you came up just a little short, keep trying and you will get it!”.
  3. Martial arts is a structured activity where the incentives for promotions are tied to performance and effort.
  4. Failure is not fatal. We learn by falling forward. Sometimes we win sometimes we lose, however we always learn.

It has been proven time and time again that the self-esteem movement has really made it difficult for young people to display one of the most fundamental character traits. GRIT. The ability to be mentally tough in the face of challenges. Martial arts can be a fantastic way of teaching your child about the joys of self-discipline and the growth mindset.

I highly encourage you to pick up the Mindset book or take a look at Carol Dweks Ted Talk.

Carol Dweck: The power of believing that you can improve

Carol Dweck researches “growth mindset” – the idea that we can grow our brain’s capacity to learn and to solve problems. In this talk, she describes two ways to think about a problem that’s slightly too hard for you to solve. Are you not smart enough to solve it …