Being a martial artist means consistent training. Training on what though? Whatever you want of course. There, now isn’t that helpful? Probably not. Well let me try and help with that.

I am a practitioner of Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan and our founder Kwan Jang Nim Hwang Kee use to say, “be a scholar first and a warrior last”. Well maybe that isn’t exactly what he said but that is how I interpreted it. Anyways Start carrying a binder or notebook in your gym bag to keep track of your reps and sets, how many katas you practiced, the mood you are in, what music you were listening to, things your instructor said, anything. I have always thought of this as my training journal or my book of mastery.

First Things First

Monthly Goal Page

Set up your goals. These can be monthly, weekly, or achievement specific. These are the pages that you will be looking back on and reflecting when you week, month, or goal is achieved. In my journals I track my performance monthly so I have a monthly goal page.

Here is my personal journal because my martial arts journal is a mess from all the sweaty clothes that I leave in my bag. Just like in my training journal I have sections for specific things I am tracking. In the above image I have personal and business goals. In my training journal I have a section for Fundamentals and Learning.

Fundamentals will have something like “Do 500 sidekicks per leg”. When I have done that for the month I will put a check mark next to or over the dot. Leaning holds goals for practicing new things. This could be a new form or teaching methods that I want to try. Customize as you see fit but look at these goals as an outline for what shows up in your daily log.

Hold Yourself Accountable

Now that you have your list of goals its time to start working towards those goals. I have an excel sheet that I print out and write down what I work on at the dojo that evening. Then I transfer them to my journal that has the same layout. You can view my Reps and Sets Worksheet here.

It’s pretty basic. I mark the date and goal at the top then log what I worked on that night. At the end of the night or when I get home I reflect on what I did and if I have old records I will compare the numbers and notes from the last time I did something similar. I make my students do this from time to time too. When I notice that a technique or form is looking sloppy across the class I will have students fill out when they practiced and if an instructor is present then they have to have the instructor sign off on this sheet. This helps hold accountability.

Reps & sets worksheet

Master of the Notes

The majority of my journal is notes. Notes from when I went to clinics, tests, and training camps. If a teacher has said something that stuck with me or presented one of those “Ah ha” moments I wrote it down. Any handouts or papers that were provide I add to my journal or in a separate binder. You should make note of things that stick with you to pass on to your students if you plan on having some one day.

Make it your own

What ever you decide to do or put in your karate journal make it authentic. What I mean by that is make it your own. It is unique because it revolves around you and your take on your training. Many Grand-masters write books and most of those books came from notes and journal the Grand-masters kept.

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