Youth Student’s Corner
For the month of August we’ve been talking about “motivation” as our mental theme, and how you can push yourself to work hard in class and when you practice at home. Finding the motivation to get up and start practicing is definitely the hardest part, but what should you be doing once you’re motivated to get started?
A very simple answer is just do what you know: warm up, stretch, go through old and new forms and sequences, techniques, stances, strength requirements, and so on. You also don’t have to go through everything you know in one practice session. That not only takes a lot more time when you get higher in the ranks and know more things, but it can also make practicing everyday seem like a big scary task. Don’t plan to do everything at once, but do make a plan of what things you are going to get to each day so that you can get the most out of your time.
I can’t tell you exactly what you should be practicing each day of the week because that’s up to you and what you like doing – you might do just forms one day, just kicks the next, just blocks the next, etc. or you might like doing a little bit of everything each day – and whatever you decide, I suggest planning so that by the end of each week you have been through all your curriculum (new as well as old) so that way nothing gets forgotten. I also suggest writing down your plan once you’re happy with it so that you don’t forget it and can see what’s on each day’s schedule. It might also be handy to have in your training binder in case a Sifu asks you about it in class – you never know!
Remember that you have the choice to practice more or less than what’s written in your requirements for your level, but don’t forget that all actions have consequences; if you decide not to practice you will not improve or advance as fast as you might hope, and if you decide to push yourself to work as hard as you can you (and your instructors) will definitely see the benefits to your growth as a martial artist. Your Kung Fu teachers only see you two hours a week, so the rest is up to you.
My final bit of advice is to train with other students whenever you can, be it during open kwoon time, just before your class, or actually planning a get-together with your Kung Fu friends. Kung Fu is an individual activity, but that doesn’t mean you always have to practice by yourself. When you have trouble being motivated, it’s nice having a friend to help you. I’m definitely inspired when I hear about the practice schedules that my classmates, and the students I teach, follow!