Why Am I Getting Worse? Pt. 2
[caption id="attachment_3060" align="aligncenter" width="304"] This makes total sense[/caption] Two days ago we looked at Regression Towards the Mean as a reason you might feel like, despite ongoing training, you’re actually getting worse. In part 2 of Krav Maga Raleigh’s two-or-more part series we’ll look at another big factor, which is habituation. What is habituation? To quote the internet habituation is, “The diminishing of a physiological or emotional response to a frequently repeated stimulus.” In comprehensible terms it means you get used to stuff, and that includes progress. Progress is not a smooth linear path, but comes in fits and starts. If you’re lifting weights you don’t pick up one pound more each day, but you pick up the same weight for a while, then one day you find out you can pick up five pounds more, and you do that for a while until you can pick up another five pounds, and then you just keep doing that until you have enough self-esteem. The downside is that every time you get stronger, it’s not too long before everything just goes back to feeling normal. Let’s say you’ve been really struggling with your hook punch, then one day your instructor says something that really resonates with you, or you finally figure out how to shift the weight to your back foot, and all of a sudden it feels like you’re slamming a cannonball into the mitts. It’s awesome. For a couple classes you wish you could do nothing but hook punches for an hour. You’re calling your parents and saying, “Mom! Dad! You won’t believe what’s happened! No, you’re not getting grandkids, please stop bothering me about that. It’s my hook punches, they’re…no I didn’t become a hooker! What is your problem? And you know what? If I did become a hooker, it’s because I’ve never resolved my emotional abandonment issues, but I’m talking about my HOOK PUNCHES. They’re amazing! Yes I know it would be amazing if I got married but you’re really missing the point right now.” Ok, so maybe a good hook punch won’t finally make your parents appreciate you as a human, but it’s still pretty satisfying. For a few classes you revel in your new power, but after a week or so you start to feel like you’re losing it. That thundering crash of your fist into the mitt is just a little pitter-patter tap, a minuscule slap, the soft, affectionate rap you would give to those children your parents so desperately want you to have. How did this happen? How did you go – in one week – from a punch that could fell a horse, to one that could only take down a child if they saw it and collapsed in laughter? Habituation. Generally speaking, you didn’t lose the progress you made on that hook punch, you just got used to the feeling. Humans are bad at a lot of things, but we’re pretty good at adapting, which means you’ll only feel powerful, or skilled, or coordinated in the short time it’s a new sensation. And when you lose that new feeling you can’t help but feel like you’ve gone backwards. All I can say is: Don’t worry. If you’re training you’re getting better. Sometimes you’ll plateau for a bit, but it’s nearly impossible to get worse if you show up to the gym.