Getting the Most Out of Training

tonbo

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Greetings!

I have recently started over in some aspects of my martial arts journey, and have had a lot of good opportunities to remind myself of some things....and I thought that some of these things might be helpful to others. If they are, great! If not...well...great! :)

All thoughts are just my opinion, not law, not ancient wisdom....just thoughts.....

As a beginner, you are in the best possible spot. You have gotten the jump on a number of other people who haven't even started on the journey, and may never do more than think "someday I should start". Congratulate yourself on this fact -- in my opinion, "white belt" is one of the hardest, since you have to overcome a number of fears just to get to that point.

Ask questions. The only stupid questions are those that are unasked. Just be sure that you are asking to get answers, not asking to challenge someone else's knowledge ("But I've always seen it THIS way..."). If you are asking a question, in my opinion, you are ready for the answer.

Basics are your friend. Don't worry about all the flashy moves. Get the basics down. They will serve you best if you have them down while you don't have all kinds of other stuff clouding your martial mind. Never lose the basics -- these are the things all the "cool stuff" are built on!

Take pride in your first rank advancement, but don't rush to it. Enjoy being a beginner. It's frustrating, sometimes, but hey....like I said, you've already overcome a TON by just being in class and learning.

Do NOT be afraid to make mistakes. This is the time to make them. As people progress, many tend to be more risk averse. A great number of Black belts don't like "looking stupid", or admitting that they don't know things they should, etc. As a white belt, you have a free pass. Make mistakes....just learn from them.

When in class, listen to everything the instructor says about a technique/kata and assume that they are talking directly to you....that way, you get a private lesson in each and every class. If an instructor mentions something to the class in general, treat it as a personal inside tip, and use it to improve your own techniques.

Write stuff down! Keep a journal and record the names of techniques/katas, how they work, things the instructor(s) said, how you felt in class, whatever -- it is a good reference as you continue on, and can be awesome to look back at later.

Take your techniques and katas slowly. Speed and power come later. Let loose at home or when you practice outside of class, but practice techs/katas slowly to see how they work -- you might be surprised at some of the things you see!

Practice, practice, practice. It doesn't have to be formal -- if you are watching TV, practice during the commercials! Work the basics the most -- make sure you get them down. Pick a couple of things per practice, and work them as much as possible. For example, work on straight punches for 10 min: work them from horse stance, work them from a different stance, step forward with them, step backwards with them, do them fast, do them slow....try and do them as many ways as you can think of. As your punches get better, any techniques that incorporate straight punches get better. :)

Above all, realize that the martial arts is a marathon, not a sprint. To do this right, you will be in the arts for a long, long time....so there is plenty of tiime to get where you want to. Don't go by the belt/sash color....that's just a general guide as to what you know, not a comment on your ability. :)

Ok, enough for now....these are only the things that have been rattling around in my head for the last few weeks.

'nuff blabbering on....time for me to get back to my own training.

Respectfully,

--Tonbo
 

TheWellWisher

Yellow Belt
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Some very wise words there, friend. And your right, actually having the guts to the first class while watching all the more experienced people and then sticking to it is an achievement in itself.
 

mj_lover

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well said! as long as your mind stays open, you will get better!
 

Shaderon

Master of Arts
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Well said!

I agree, I found white belt the hardest rank to hold. Everyone is above you in rank, you are bottom of the food chain and know very little and everyone above you looks awesome!

It's hard to make your body learn the basic moves and it's hard just getting there to start with. All scary stuff.

I have ultimate respect for anyone that starts out in a large class and keeps going. My first class before my 1st grading was three people all the same rank, a little less scary for me so I had it a little easier at first but it was still hard work.
 

jeorf

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Nice words.

And, realize that you never stop learning the basics. As my husband (one of my teachers) always has said to me after a test: Now you go back and work on palgue il jang. (The first form.) And basics. (Which is 95% of what I worked on for my recent 2nd degree test.)
 

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