Saturday, January 2, 2016

4 Good New Years Resolutions for the Martial Artist

According to the web site Statistics Brain, the following are the top ten New Years Resolutions:

  1. Lose Weight
  2. Getting Organized
  3. Spend Less, Save More
  4. Enjoy Life to the Fullest
  5. Staying Fit and Healthy
  6. Learn Something Exciting
  7. Quit Smoking
  8. Help Others in Their Dreams
  9. Fall in Love
  10. Spend More Time with Family
Numbers 4 and 9 intrigue me. How does one resolve to fall in love? While it is possible to make oneself more amenable to social situations, I'm not sure one can 'decide' to fall in love. I suppose one could engage "Ladies of Negotiable Friendship" but that is merely substituting emotional commitment for physical gratification.

I note that "Win the lottery" did not make the list, putting number 4, (Enjoy Life to the Fullest), in serious jeopardy.

Some of these resolutions fail on a basic level in that they cannot be managed (ex: love), while others can be claimed far too easily. One can Quit Smoking on January 1st, again on the 3rd, and twice on the 5th. Does that mean you have exceeded expectations by quitting not once, but four times?

Resolving to improve is not a bad idea, but you should try to make your goals unambiguous, obtainable, and with measurable progress. If you want to become a better martial artist here are a few reasonable resolutions for the new year:
  • Maintain a solid weekly attendance average
  • Plan to attend a tournament
  • Improve your stance
  • Write stuff down
Make an effort to get to the karate studio at least three times per week. If your're already averaging three, then make it three and a half. Less than three visits and you'll struggle to maintain your knowledge as you progress through the ranks. In other words, your actual capability will stagnate.

Attendance is an easy metric to monitor. Whatever you're at now, try to up it.

Plan now to attend a tournament. Note that I didn't say you have to actually go and compete (you should), but rather I said 'Plan to attend.' I've seen this again and again; the preparation for a tournament causes the student to focus, work harder, and practice with deliberateness. The improvement that occurs the month before a competition is significant.

If you make no other change this year to your training, focus on your stance. Make your Front Stance lower, point both feet forward, bend your forward knee. Your Fighting Stance must be low as well. Bend both knees and keep it there. Don't straighten up. Focus every class. Ask others to challenge you.

Lastly, write stuff down. There are 10 Fighting Techniques, 15 Red Belt Hand and Feet Combinations, 15 Green Belt Ho Sin Sul. Write them down. Take pictures of the hand positions. Draw sketches. Create flash cards. Work with the information.

Find a way to engage with your training outside of class in ways that use different parts of your brain.

These four simple resolutions are easy to remember, measure, and maintain. As an added bonus, you'll have a good start on resolutions 1, 4, 5, 6, and 8 - and 9 is not out of the question.

1 comment:

  1. I fell much better about some things after reading this post: so far I have accumulated 165 flash cards from the GUP manual and "outside" terminology - phrases and such that came from different Sa Bom Nims but are not in any book. I also have flash cards with images for all the Ho Sin Suls, and I keep them in my car, looking at one at every long red light. They really do work! I don't like "new year resolutions", but I do like the idea of small improvement - such as attending class four times instead of three. As far as "falling in love" - fall in love again with whatever it is or whoever it is in your life already, like red belt combinations - they feel awesome when you can do them right!!!

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