Youth Student’s Corner
At the front of the kwoon just above the mirrors, there are four plaques on the wall called the “Focus Points” that we sometimes refer to in class. These are four important things you should focus on when you train, with some guiding questions that you can ask yourself. Next time you’re in class, I urge you to try thinking about these Focus Points and use them to challenge yourself to reach a new personal best.
Focus Point #1 – Rate yourself on a scale from 1-10.
Is this the very best I can do?
You are always expected to bring your personal best to every class, so you should always be striving to show your level 10 self. Can you go lower in your stance? Can you kiai a little louder? Can you respond to instructions a little faster? Keep asking yourself if the effort you’re bringing right now is the very best that you can do. If you’re at a 5, what do you need to do differently to bring yourself up to that 10?
Focus Point #2 – The concept of healthy competition.
Is there anyone in class trying harder than I am?
Healthy competition is not about comparing your skill level to that of others, but rather comparing how much effort you are putting in relative to your classmates. If you see someone in class who is really trying their best and you’re not, push yourself to try as hard as them. If you keep challenging those you train with to work the hardest, then everyone wins because you help each other improve.
Focus Point #3 – Train as if it were real.
Where am I, what am I doing, and is it real?
How you practice is how you perform, so you should always train your Kung Fu imagining that you are using it in a real situation. When you practice your punches, check your fist formation, and snap the strikes out with spirit. When you block, think about what you might be blocking against and react with intensity. Our brains like to wander, but you need to keep bringing those thoughts back to where you are right now, what you need to be doing in this moment, and if you are doing it like you mean it.
Focus Point #4 – Coach yourself.
Am I learning anything? Am I getting any better?
If you really want to improve your Kung Fu, you don’t need to wait for someone else to correct you or tell you to push yourself; you can be your own coach. If you’re holding a horse stance, go through your mental checklist of everything you need to be focusing on: hands pulled back, knees bent, back straight, eyes forward, etc. Even when you’re not being taught something new, you can still learn something from everything you do if you try. Improving your Kung Fu is much easier when you are fully engaged in your own training, and you can cheer yourself on!