Your martial arts training plan

If you are reading these Bando minutes regularly or if you are taking any classes in martial arts, you realize that your training involves at least two components: in-class instruction and training on your own. Each has its own rhythm and structure.

The rhythm and structure of in-class training is generally straightforward. Most likely you have a set schedule for the class, and the instructor has laid out an overall flow for the instruction. What may be more of a challenge is your personal training. Do you have a rhythm and structure that you’ve set up for yourself? If you don’t, here are a few things to consider:

  • Plan to spend some time immediately after your in-class instruction to take comtemporary notes ( read more about note taking by clicking here). This is a critical step in internalizing what you learn. Don’t rely on a video or your memory to “do it later”. Refine your notes later, but take notes immediately after training.
  • Keep your expectations of progress in line with your own ability to practice on your own. And be honest with your instructor about your current level of ability and commitment to train outside of class.
  • Don’t worry if you don’t have all of the pieces of a technique perfect while you practice. Work on it and be ready to bring questions to your instructor at the next class.
  • Pick at least one day a week you set aside a specific block of time to work on the skills being taught in your class. For example, if you are taking my class on Mondays, perhaps you set aside Wednesdays from 7-8pm to practice, to review your notes, etc. Be dressed to train (eg, clothes that allow movement), use this time to warm-up, and select specific things to work on. If something comes up on your regular practice time, formally reschedule it if you can. And if you can’t, that’s okay too.
  • Something that works really well is to have a training partner to practice together with. It allows you to review any partner drills that may have been covered. Plus it’s an added level of accountability when you know you will be meeting someone. With the current quarantines in place, your only training partner may be a housemate who isn’t taking instruction with you. If they’re game, they can still help by giving you observations on your posture, calling out a pace, etc.
  • Find times to just “play” with some of the skills being taught. The Bando Minutes are one way to just play with things – spending just a few minutes trying out a skill. Joe Manley calls this type of training “matter of fact” training – its something you do without having to get specially dressed or to “warm up” before doing.
  • Keep notes of things you are not sure about in your practice; ask your teacher during class or between classes if you have the opportunity. As a teacher, I love knowing that my students are engaging with the skills and are identifying, for themselves, areas they need more clarification or refinement. And if you are one of my students, you are welcome to email me, call, or even post on one of these Bando minutes about your questions.

Above all, be kind to yourself. There have been many periods where I’ve had a lot of external stress, and I’ve not been able to train as much as I’d want. During those times, I’ve remembered that it’s temporary and that my personal training is a long term commitment, not to be measured over a week or a month.

Learning is a life-long joy. Have a great practice!

Interested in reviewing past Bando minutes? Check out the Bando Minute archive!