The best way to train outside of class?

Hordfest

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Hello all,

I'm a newcomer to these forums and a newcomer to martial arts in general. I observed my first lesson in Shuri-ryu last week and, just from watching I already caught "the bug" as people call it. I'm starting classes this week and I'm really excited!

However, that is not what this thread is about. Basically, the way this particular dojo is set up, at least for beginners, is two 45 minute classes a week and a third hour long weekend class that is optional. I'm the type of person that when I get involved with something I want to work at it, I know I'll want to work on training outside of class. Therefore, the question I have for everybody here is:

What are some useful methods for training in between classes outside of the dojo?

Edit: Also, I put this in general instead of beginner with the hopes that people will be able to share general knowledge that people can use across the various styles!
 

jasonbrinn

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I would use the following;

- videos (from qualified instructors ONLY)

- books (from qualified instructors ONLY)

- and most importantly FITNESS! I would train every fitness technique I can. The more general fitness you have the better suited you will be to learn and excel in any art form you study.


Negatively - I would STAY off the internet as far as using it as a source to talk about your art, its teachers, or even training practices. Sure there are good ones out there but there is an ocean of novice people teaching and talking crap (lol - as I state this on an internet forum!).
 

Bill Mattocks

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Hello all,

I'm a newcomer to these forums and a newcomer to martial arts in general. I observed my first lesson in Shuri-ryu last week and, just from watching I already caught "the bug" as people call it. I'm starting classes this week and I'm really excited!

However, that is not what this thread is about. Basically, the way this particular dojo is set up, at least for beginners, is two 45 minute classes a week and a third hour long weekend class that is optional. I'm the type of person that when I get involved with something I want to work at it, I know I'll want to work on training outside of class. Therefore, the question I have for everybody here is:

What are some useful methods for training in between classes outside of the dojo?

Edit: Also, I put this in general instead of beginner with the hopes that people will be able to share general knowledge that people can use across the various styles!

I presume your style has basic exercises and kata or forms. As a newcomer, you'll be learning those step-by-step in the dojo.

The way to train outside the dojo is to practice those things.

Do them repeatedly, over and over again.

Do them whenever you can, and wherever you can.

Practice them slowly, paying attention to your balance, your feet, and your breathing.

Practice them quickly, paying attention to your rhythm, speed, and 'flow'.

If you practice in front of a mirror in your dojo, you will be noticing soon enough that you'll be able to perform kata or forms when facing the mirror, but when you're turned around and asked to perform them, you'll blow it, because you have become oriented to the mirror as 'forward'. Therefore, practice without a mirror at home, and turn yourself around and practice facing a different direction once you feel comfortable.

If you have a training partner or someone from the dojo who is willing to work with you when you're not at the dojo, practice doing the 'back side' of the form or kata. That is, when you block, you're doing it because someone is punching or kicking. When you punch or kick, you're being blocked by someone. It's an advanced technique, but learning WHY you are doing the forms can be immensely helpful in learning to do them correctly. I always imagine my opponent in front of me as I do my kata. I visualize them coming at me, and my moves are based on my imaginary opponent's attacks and defenses.

If you're tired of doing kata or forms, exercise, and increase your endurance. Skipping rope increases speed, wind, and coordination. Throw up a clothesline in the back yard at about shoulder high and walk down it, practicing doing boxer's rolls and uppercuts. Get a heavy bag and practice kicks and punches.

Everyone who practices away from the dojo gets better much faster than those who do not. The difference is obvious to most trainers; they'll comment on it. It matters a lot.

To begin with, just practice your last lesson, do it over and over and over and over....and over....
 

dancingalone

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Bill pretty much said what I would have. Some good advice there.

As a beginner, you might focus on hitting your stances quickly yet with stability as the top goal. Have someone try to push you over by steadily increasing pressure on your shoulders, torso, and hips with their hands as you flow from stance to stance. (Of course have them push from an angle in which the stance is supposed to be strong, so from the front with zenkutsu-dachi, side with kiba-dachi, etc.)

Improving core strength always helps in martial arts. So if you just feel like some mind numbing stuff that does require a lot of thinking, hit the floor and do some crunches and leg lifts.
 

Em MacIntosh

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When you work out on your own, concentrate on conditioning, particularly cardio. Biggest reason being that the conditioning exercises (running, push-ups, crunches, stretches, stress stances etc.) tend to be less complex and require less guidance from an instructor (bad habits can still be developed though, so be vigilant). Practice the fundamentals and basics, give yourself one day off a week to laze and after a few weeks or months under guidance the muscle memory will take hold and you can be more confident about practicing correct technique on your own. Work up to it and don't burn yourself out, it can happen to the best of us. After two weeks or so your body will be hard enough to dive right in and you can train hardcore.

I can't stress this enough: Always warm up before you work out! Even youngins can injure themselves if they're too impetuous.
 

Never_A_Reflection

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As has been said, just practice what you learned in the dojo over and over again. Since you are just starting out you will find that muscles you aren't used to using are going to be getting sore, so the more you work up to the classes by holding low stances and working your basic techniques the better off you will be, and the better you will remember how to do them. I know when I started Shuri-Ryu I spent a lot of time standing in a low kiba-dachi (horse stance) and practicing my basic hand techniques because I knew that my dojo was very conditioning-intensive when it came to the stances. After you learn kata, ippon nara waza, taezu nara waza and kihon kumite kata sets you can practice those in the air at home as well.
 

MaxiMe

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Pretty much what everyone else has said. I would add that you can also practice yout distance. With a heave bag or some sort of target. Just barely touch it instead of punching or kicking through it. Just to hep you with distance relationships. Your feet stick out from your body further than your hands when your hips are rotated :)
 
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Cyriacus

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Shadow Sparring.
Pushups.
Situps.
And a Good Book from a Good Instructor.

Good Luck :)
 

Indagator

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I have this problem sometimes as I have to travel to train.

Aside from fitness work &c. on my off days what I do is train the ***** outta what I trained during my actual in-class training sessions. Some stuff won't work as solo training of course, lol.
 

tshadowchaser

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You have had some great advice from those that posted before me.
Keep a notebook of what you learn in class. As soon after class as possible write down what was done and if specific way of doing a block, stance, kick, etc. was given try to write down exactly what was said in class.

Practice you moves slow at first being sure to do the as correctly as possible. Check that notebook to make sure your correct. If a stance is supposed to have a locked leg be sure to lock it and make sure your feet are pointed correctly. If your hand is supposed to come into the center of your body before a block be sure not to cheat the move.

As has been said if you have a bag to kick make sure you go slow at first getting the movement down correctly. Do not just kick as fast as possible because your form in the kick may be off at full speed.

Try to get a partner to practice with you. If he/she is around the same experence as you you can both try to correct posture and movement in the other.

Best of luck with your training
 

kubachi

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I know you've received a lot of really great responses already (they were good for me to read as well) but I just wanted to confirm that, as a new student to Hapkido, the thing that has helped me the most in between classes is 1) repetition of technique, even if it's in my head and I'm not actually doing it (especially the basic breathing stuff) 2) setting up an area in my residence where I can practice the more physical stuff like rolls and sprawls w/out getting hurt and 3) DEFINITELY the stamina and core training. I went out and bought free weights and a mat where I can do core work on the floor right in front of the tv. Hey, I'll admit it, I love tv and have like, 10 shows recorded on the DVR each week so might as well make the most of my time. :) I've already noticed a major improvement in my ability to concentrate just because my confidence is better. I can only imagine how I'll feel as a human being a year from now. My guess is, if I thought I was alive before, I'll realize in a year that what I thought was living was barely makin' it.
 

WCman1976

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Aside from the great advice above, I want to offer this up: take the technique that you feel you do the WORST...and hammer away at that one! Ask your teacher for as much guidance on it as possible. We all want to feel good about ourselves by practicing what we do well, but it really says something special about you if you are willing to focus on the weak areas to bring them up to speed. Given that you said you are a beginner, you might feel you are not very good at anything yet, but even when most people are beginners, they still notice certain techniques are easier to pick up than others. Last but not least, if it is a style heavy on katas, then I would definitely follow the advice of getting some kind of cardio routine going to supplement your training.
 

Grenadier

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As a former Shuri Ryu practitioner, I'm going to offer a bit of a different insight.

Shuri Ryu is a good bit more "bottom heavy" of a system, compared to other Japanese and Okinawan Karate systems. The practicing of the fundamentals at the start really needs to be done under a watchful eye, which is why I encourage new Shuri Ryu Karate-Ka to focus more on conditioning and the repetition of only a few techniques at a time, during the first couple of weeks of off-class practice.

If you want to practice kihon (not kihon forms) outside of class, it's best to simply focus on one or two techniques that you were shown in class, and can do with correct mechanics, over, and over, and over. It's more of a matter of building up muscle memory, since a new beginner can get overwhelmed with the sheer number of techniques he must learn.

This way, you'll be able to bust off the technique without having to think about it, at which point you can then focus on being able to put more techniques into this level of performance, one at a time. This way, you can improve the quality of your techniques one at a time, in a methodical, mechanically sound manner, and not have to worry about developing a poor set of mechanics (which can take a LONG time to undo).

Remember, it's not practice that makes perfect, but rather, perfect practice that makes perfect. I've seen some beginning folks in Shuri try to imitate what they see other, more experienced students doing, and running into a brick wall of frustration when they have problems trying to piece together Taezu Naru Waza (which can be quite complex for the neophyte), or to remember all of the techniques used in the Kihons.

This isn't something specific to Shuri, and is true of any system out there. I've seen some neophytes who try to learn kata (sometimes at the insistence of an instructor) when they are not ready to do so, even something as simple as Taikyoku Shodan, since their basic techniques are not developed enough, and that they do not have an understanding of proper footwork. As a result, they end up flailing their arms and stomping their feet in different directions, instead of performing a kata with good form, power, and focus.

Above all, have patience. If your teacher is a good one, he'll bring you along at the proper pace, giving you more knowledge when you're ready for it.
 

Black Belt Jedi

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I will give some advice on practicing outside of classes.

In order to increase your cardiovascular system start off jogging for 4 or 5k and then practice your Kihon (basics) and Kata for at least an hour. It good for all Karateka to train outdoors in all elements, it helps build your stamina, develop power in your movements and balance while training on different types of terrain. Practice doing pushups and situps right after getting up from bed.

If you live in a cold climate area you can do workouts in your basement, set aside money to buy some weights and some other gym equipment and a punching bag. If your basement cluttered with stuff. You can go to the gym and workout. Practice your basics and kata in a small space in your house. It's good to train in large and small spaces.

Visual aids can be helpful. For beginners, it's best to read through magazines and books related to the Martial Arts as guidelines. I don't prefer going on youtube to find Karate katas. That's good for green belts and up.
 

chinto

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I agree with the person who said " practice your Kata/Forms as you learn them again and again and again!! then do it some more!
 

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