As I have mentioned in earlier articles, one of my teacher equates martial arts with walking. When we are white belts, we are like toddlers just standing and holding onto the couch as we stumble along. As we develop, we don’t need to hold on to things any more but we still stumble along. As we continue to walk, we get better and better until we master walking.
How do we master walking? By doing it every day. The same applies to martial arts. If we are to reach our full potential in martial arts, we need to work it every day.
This does not mean going to class seven days a week. Just like when we were back in school, martial arts require homework. You need to work on your own every day, even if you do go to classes. Working on your own makes you think about the moves. You cannot follow the leader. It also lets you do it at the speed you are comfortable with. Sometimes classes can push you along so you just go through the motions. Doing it on your own makes the techniques sink in.
I work on groups of my techniques every day. There are too many to do them all. I choose groups of techniques to practice and I rotate them. On weekends, I add more than I do on workdays. I found that training first thing in the morning is a great way to get motivated for my day and I don’t put it off because of things that happen later in the day.
I go to classes three to four days a week. I train a few styles and I am no grand master. I need to go to class often to hone my techniques. Self-study is an enhancement of, not a replacement for teacher led classes.
Lastly, when I go to bed, I visualize my techniques in my head. If I go to bed before my wife, I do the breathing cadence along with the technique, otherwise I do it silently. Doing the techniques in my head is better than counting sheep. It puts me right to sleep and it helps me retain the moves.
Whether you are competing, preparing yourself for defense or looking for a certain state of mind, working your martial arts every day will help you reach your goals.