6 Human needs pertaining to the context of a Martial Arts student's experience by Thomas Clifford - : Aurora Family Martial Arts
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6 Human needs pertaining to the context of a Martial Arts student’s experience by Thomas Clifford

I recently came across this post on Facebook and thought that it was so well written and summarized an adult experience in martial arts, so well, that I had to share it. For those of you that aren’t aware of the 6 human needs, Anthony Robbins concludes that human beings are motivated by the desire to fulfill 6 core needs. These needs are not merely wants or desires but profound needs that form the basis of all decisions that we make.

And now, the post…

There are 6 specific needs that we must meet in order to transform an interest into a lifestyle. You may be familiar with the 6 Human Needs, because many people have written about them.


The first of our needs is certainty. There are a lot of things that we take for granted. We simply expect many things to just “happen.” It gives us a sense of security and confidence.

Think about your need for certainty in your own life. How many things do you “know” are going be the way they have always been? A lot, right?

Are there things at the Dojo that provide you with certainty? Do you have expectations that are met each and every time you walk out on the mat?

The answer is yes.

There are a plethora of practices that we do in every training session. You have grown to rely on them.


On the far side of certainty, just past its outer edge, is variety. These are the unexpected events of our lives.

Have you ever been surprised? Surprise is an example of variety. Sometimes it brings pleasure, sometimes it brings pain.

Can you think of any examples of variety in your experience at the Dojo? In the beginning, everything you did in class was new. Variety was over abundant.

As you progressed through the ranks, the major differences from one session to the next, seem to blur and melt away.

Ironically, you began to notice greater variation in training as you advanced in rank.

What was once beginning to seem like the same thing over and over again, eventually seemed completely different. It did not change, you did!

Your ability to detect the differences in every strike, block, kick, and stance, increased with time.

Truthfully, the variety can be so overwhelming, that you may have “shut down” on occasion and confused it with boredom. This is very common.


Do you remember your first class at the Dojo? Were you uncomfortable? Was it embarrassing? Did you feel out of place?

How important was it for you to just fit in with the rest of the class?

You know that it was extremely important. No one wants to stick out like a sore thumb.

It probably did not take long for you to learn how to get through class without feeling like everyone was focused on you.

The need to feel like you belong in the Dojo is shared by all of your classmates.

Being part of the class is important to everyone. Getting in there, and rowing in the same direction as everyone else has value, especially when you know it is the right direction.

You quickly acclimated to the culture of the Dojo, and before you knew it, you felt “at home” on the mat.


Not long after the joy of fitting in loses its luster, you had the need to stand out in class.

You trained hard, made progress, and intuitively expected to be recognized for your achievements.

You noticed other students being acknowledged for their accomplishments. Where you being overlooked? Of course not.

Your progress is recognized in many ways. As your skills improved, attention was naturally drawn to you. You were asked to demonstrate moves for the benefit of your classmates. You stood out.

You earned Stripes for your dedicated participation. You earned Belts to indicate your experience and responsibility. Titles were earned to distinguish your unique role in the Dojo. Standing out is inevitable.


You were drawn to the Martial Arts to get something from it.

You are still training, and that means that the value outweighs the cost.

The specific reason for starting your training is likely to be different from the reasons why you are continuing.

This is the way it is for everyone who embraces Martial Arts as a lifestyle.

Did you really have any idea how much you would get from the Martial Arts when you first enrolled?

You grow every time you walk out on the mat. The Dojo is an amazing place to challenge yourself and become a greater version of who you are.


You have another need. It is the need to give.

When you began your training, it was appropriate to focus on what you wanted to get. As you mature, you realize that approach is limited.

As you progressed through the Belt ranks, you came to an awareness that your classmates are an incredible “resource.”

Aside from your own desire, dedication, and discipline, they contribute more to your Martial Arts education than anyone else.

The greatest contribution you can make to your classmates, is setting an outstanding example.

They watch what you do and how you do it.

They rely on you to be a great training partner during cooperative drills.

You add value to their experience when you do your best.

Perhaps you have gone through periods in your training when you contemplated giving up.

Your classmates inspired you to continue.

They also count on you to inspire them.

By Thomas Clifford

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