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The Budo Odyssey: Living and Training in Japan

Practice Outside of Class

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For a lot of people, a few hours a week is good enough for martial arts practice and really that is all that they need. Yet, if one practices outside of normal classes and keep a regular routine of training away from the dojo, it may be surprising how much improvement can be made with a minimal effort. That being said, if one can get a training partner to join up with them only good things can come of it as it motives both parties. For many this is not an option so they usually start out working at home, quickly grow tired of it, then abandon training outside normal times in pursuit of other things. Normally they expect too much of themselves and don't have the benefit of motivation from outside themselves, so it becomes too easy to just drop it. That being said there are some things one can do...

1) Make the time spent training alone reasonable, even short. Set aside 10 minutes of training time and keep it. If you want to go over that, fine, but keep it quick. Soon you'll find that you want to spend more time doing it and when you can't 10 minutes will suffice and you can keep the pattern.
2) Create an environment that allows you to train and make it enjoyable. This is a great way to seek a little solace and creating an atmosphere that you can enjoy and retreat into again and again.
3) Keep it simple. Really look at what you are doing in your main classes and glean and modify things into exercise or drills that you can perform alone. That being said, it's important to keep from straying too far from the core of what one is doing so make sure that it's a viable solution. One might even ask the instructor what a good way to practice and seek advice.
4) Make it interesting, keep it varied. Repetition is nice, but let's face it people get bored quickly. Don't focus too much on one thing unless you are motivated to do so. Keep it interesting and mix it up.
5) Keep it up, if you miss it make it up. Pattern are important here so it is equally important to keep it up. If something gets in the way, make it up later. NEVER make one session longer to make it up as it becomes tiresome and boring. The idea is not to burn out, but to make your personal training time something you want to do and leave you wanting more. That keeps you doing it.

Anyway....just some thoughts.
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  1. ludde's Avatar
    I make sure that I place my bokuto back at a rack when I get home from practice. That way it is easy to get hold of and start practicing whatever I feel to. Maybe some correction, something that I started thinking of at practice and so on.
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  2. Vagabond's Avatar
    This is a great way to approach home training. Something I have just recently been trying approach in a balanced way. I never though about creating an environment though. Sounds kind of like a personal Dojo, I like it. One thing I have found handy is recording my personal training. Nothing too strenuous, jut a sheet of paper with a list of Kata, Heavy Bag, Speed Bag, Kihon, and Kumite. It helps me to see areas that I may be neglecting.
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