Martial Arts is the combination of physical techniques and mental discipline. It is used for self defense, body strengthening, relaxation, and even competition. Women often take martial arts classes to learn moves that will help them in the event of an attack. The moves of Martial Arts are designed for even a small woman to use them effectively.

The arms and legs are used in Martial Arts moves. Practicing them will help you get fit and strengthen your body. Doing these moves will also help relax your mind. There are many different types of martial arts including karate and tae kwon do. Karate involves various kicks and punches. The goal of karate is to defend rather than to hurt the other person. Tae kwon do is the most commonly used type of martial arts. The moves are very graceful and requires exceptional coordination.

The level of skill varies greatly in martial arts, from beginners to experts. Martial Arts competitions are very popular. In addition to karate and tae kwon do, kickboxing competitions are very popular as well.

Martial arts is a great sport for children of all ages to participate in. They will get fit, learn about self discipline, and have some basic skills for defending themselves. It can help with behavior issues too including a short attention span, following directions, and communication style.

There are many variations of the martial arts. It is important to identify the types of techniques and training that will be used in a class before you sign up. The instructor can help you determine if it is right for you. There are also martial arts videos you can purchase to use at home. This is a great way to pick up skills in the privacy of your home. It is also great for those with a hectic schedule.

Many types of Martial Arts have a colored belt system. Judo was the first type of Martial Arts to adopt this practice. The color of the belt indicates the level of skill the student has. Students have to pass skill tests to move on to learning techniques and moves of the next color. Beginners start with a white belt. In the old days, the white belt was dyed the new color as a rite of passage and honor in Martial Arts. Today the belt is simply replaced with the new color of the skill level. After white, the colors are yellow, orange, green, blue, brown, and black.

While the goal of each student in Martial Arts is self improvement, the belt in some forms of it offers the student a way to display their efforts to the other students. It is also designed to help students engage in fair sparing activities. To respect the culture of Martial Arts, it is important that you wear the belt properly.

Never let a white belt get dingy or dirty. The belt needs to be tied firmly above the hip bones. Make sure it is loose enough to move during your activities but tight enough to stay in place. The ends of the belt hanging on both sides need to be even. This can take time to learn so practice finding the amount of material needed to tie it. Some people place a small market on the inside of the belt to find the location easily. The belt should never be allowed to cross itself in the back. Never let your belt touch the floor.

Having the proper respect for the Martial Arts includes honoring the belt color system. Never wear a belt for a level of skill you have not accomplished. This is considered to be dishonorable. Your instructor will help you learn to tie your belts properly. Enjoy learning about Martial Arts, improving your skills, and proving you are worthy of a higher ranking belt.

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.

I hear about this subject all the time. As a Martial Arts instructor students tell me they don’t have the time to come to every class and train. Every time the student gives me an excuse why they cannot train more my instructor’s voice bellows in my head. “Make the damn time.” I’m going to give you a few tips on how to train while your not at the dojo.

Stances

Work on your stances while you wait. Anywhere. Any place. We are all waiting for something during our busy day. Put these dead times to use. Are you waiting for your burrito to cook in the microwave? Get into a horse stance and hold it strong and proper while you wait that minute and a half for that burrito to cook. Maybe throw in some blocks or focus punching (without hitting anything ).

Hanging Targets

Do you work in a retail store or a job where stuff is hanging up? I have found it fun to do focus kicks/punches at stuff that is around me. Doing this can help with your distance and timing (especially if whatever is hanging can swing a bit). Test yourself to see if you can punch fast enough to cause the hanging item to start to swing. Kick with your full force and then stop as you just touch the item. This will improve your muscular control.

Stretching and Space

Maybe you are confined to a cubicle or behind a counter and have limited space. Take the time to capitalize on your spacial awareness and footwork by practicing your techniques in a confined space. You never know where you will be attacked and the environment could be your biggest challenge. Practice your form/kata in this confine space. See what you can/can’t do effectively and improve on it.

Conditioning

Hand and foot conditioning doesn’t require much. You don’t have to hit boards or bricks. Hard floors, rough carpet, and solid walls are good places to working on toughing up your hands and feet. If you can sit on the ground and stretch your legs out work on conditioning your hands at the same time. Slap the ground with heel of your palm to toughen them up. Running in the park? Take a break to chop at a tree with the knife edge of your hand or foot. Conditioning takes time and repetition before results will be seen. Remember you don’t have to hit things as hard as you can. That just hurts. Just make an impact on the surface to start building calluses.

Throw and Grab

Do you sit at a desk? Bring a bean bag or something to toss around at work. Work on your speed and hand-eye-coordination. Drop the bag and see how face you can grab it or toss in the air and set a goal to catch it at a specific height/time. As a co-worker to toss you the bag and catch it. Simple as that plus it may get you noticed by the boss.

Just Stop

One of the most over looked thing that you work on is nothing. What I mean is empty your mind. Stop for five minutes and empty your cup of all that you have been doing today and take a breath. You can do this sitting, standing, with your eyes open or close. There are so many benefits to meditation and being mindfulness. Reduce your stress levels, lower your blood pressure, better concentration. Just do it ok?

Conclusion

If you start doing these quick little training tips you will start developing an eye and come up with your own unique workouts. This is what it means to be a Karate Geek and always be training.

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