As the year draws to a close, one question any person training in combat sports should ask is: How has my game been this year?
It's important to ask this as like it or not, a combat sport is predicated on a few things, and one of those things is that there should be improvement seen over time if one if diligent, aware and mindful of what they are doing. It is not optional
If you are doing a non-competitive art like aikido or tai-chi, then this discussion doesn't apply to it. But the combat sports are inherently competitive and about dominance over your opponent; or at least control over your actions. So there are ways to gauge whether you are improving or not. Some may be valid in theory but not in practice. Take the example of performance gauging through winning compeitions
Say you won a gold medal this year in a Jits competition whereas last year, you got a silver. Sounds good, right? It is until the truth comes out that last year, you had to fight 5 opponents to get your silver while this year, you had a walkover all the way to the finals. The end doesn't always tell the whole story
If you were out with an injury last year and this year, you only started rolling or sparring again; there is improvement. It doesn't matter if everyone is kicking your ass. If next year, you are where you were this year, then your game hasn't imrpoved.
Some people object to this stress-testing. They whine "Why can't I just train without caring if I improve or not? I still like it."
Unfortunately, you train with a partner. And if he or she is improving, and likewise the others in your class; pretty soon, you won't enjoy it because everyone will be spanking you. And if you derive a certain pleasure out of that...well, there are other websites that cater for that.. :-)