You Need Reminders
It happens to the best of us: we get caught up in the process of going to the dojo, putting on our uniforms, warming up, practicing techniques, etc. We get lost in the ritual of training and the time flies by. Unless we make a concerted effort, it can be difficult to focus on the fundamental skills and habits that make everything else work.
You’re in the middle of a session, putting everything you’ve got into mastering a technique, or maybe a hokei. Perhaps, somebody will remind you to pay attention to your breathing, and you’ll think “Of course, I know that.” And you do know, but you weren’t thinking about it until somebody reminded you. We all need reminders, and we need them, by definition, when we’re not thinking about asking for them.
Training tips are useful reminders about ideas or techniques that are often forgotten or overlooked during training. Here’s a good one:
Mindful practice will improve your skills much more quickly than would mindless practice. I suggest you keep a small notebook you can carry in your gym bag. Making notes of your own observations will help tremendously. Just take a few seconds to remember your goals before practice and a couple of minutes to write down your thoughts afterward.
You’ll find that this simple habit can increase your awareness and accelerate your progress dramatically. Really.
I used to offer an email coaching program consisting of one such reminder every one or two weeks for you to think about during your normal practice.Several people told me they got a lot out of following them, so I’ve decided to forgo the email delivery system and just post them here on the site. It just seems like a much simpler way to do things.
What To Expect
The tips themselves will usually be very simple – all you have to do is remember to pay attention while you go about your usual training. The goal is to build good habits for practice.
Nothing I’ll present in this series is meant to change the way you think about life. They are just quick suggestions that can improve your Taido practice. They’re not new or sexy, but if you can focus on each one for a week’s worth of training, I promise you’ll see progress. The best part is, following these tips will make your training more effective whether you’ve a beginner or a veteran, because they help you develop the most basic and important skills in any discipline: self-awareness and consistent action.
Lots of people use this site as a resource for learning technical details and Taido theory. I think that’s spectacularly good, but there’s more to Taido than memorizing the gojojun and watching videos of hokei from some tournament five years ago.
Bringing greater attention to your own learning process and thinking actively about your training will pay of big time for your skills and understanding. Be on the lookout.