Learning and becoming proficient in the martial arts can be an overwhelming task.  It may take years, if not a lifetime to reach an accomplished level.  At times, progress can be made rather quickly.  For the most part, noticeable change is painstakingly slow. 

In order to progress at the fastest rate possible, it becomes necessary to organize your workouts.  As with most any other venture, the more organized, and consistent you are, the more you achieve with your time.  It does not matter what style of martial arts you practice, I guarantee that you could practice twenty-four hours a day and accomplish very little, unless you have a plan.  Therefore, time is crucial; Planning is crucial.  Every workout should be a quality workout.  You should begin each session with a plan and stick to it as best as possible.  This will not only help achieve more during your training, it will also give you the information you will need to track your progress.  There is nothing more frustrating than working as hard as you can for several months and, seemingly, achieve nothing.  This is how you can feel if you are not organized in your training. 

To help organize your sessions, I have found it efficient to start by breaking things down into four separate steps.


1) Form

2) Speed

3) Power

4) Fluidity


When practicing a newly learned technique, the steps should be followed in the order written above.  Jumping around only slows down the process and may possibly create bad habits that will have to be undone later.  For example, If you were to learn a new type of punch and begin trying to slam the heavy bag without first achieving the proper form, you may substitute proper technique with muscle.  Muscling a punch like this may hinder your speed as well as ruining your form.  Following the steps, you most likely will find that much greater power is the result of proper form and speed.   

In addition, proceeding in the proper order will not only help with power, it also saves time, preventing the necessity to back track and fix what was not learned in the first place.  Worse yet, is the fact that without following the correct sequence in learning, you may have practiced the form incorrectly, long enough that it becomes extremely difficult to repair.   


Form

The from stage of the process includes learning the mechanics such as what part of the body moves first, where the power is derived, or what type of footwork goes with it.  For the best results, all aspects of the movement should be taken into consideration.  1) The muscles involved in the action  2) Footwork  3) Timing  4) Body alignment  5) Balance  6) Flexibility involved  7) What the movement is used for.

Once analyzing all facets of the form, a program of drills can be developed to work these attributes either separately, or in conjunction.  Usually, the beginning practice sessions should be slow repetition.  Performing the movements slowly does several different things:  First, it enables you to monitor and constantly correct the balance throughout.  It strengthens the muscles involved, increasing endurance and coordination specifically for this motion.  Additionally, practicing slowly lets you feel it every step of the way.  When it feels right, it usually is. 

After sufficiently breaking down the form and practicing it until it looks and feel right, you are ready to move on to speed training.

Continued…..

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