"Remember, it is important to practise slowly, regularly in a relaxed manner and with mindfulness".
Becoming more aware of what you are doing and how you are doing it can assist in creating a more engaging and enriching training experience – even aside the physical benefits. The problem is, this can be challenging for instructors and black belts due to experience; having performed so many blocks, punches, strikes and kicks over the years you can now perform the techniques and sequences automatically, without conscious thought.
Ironically, it takes another conscious action to break that automatic process – to pause and take note of what you are doing and how you are doing it. In the context of a physical activity, we could stop and reflect. This is an important exercise in its own right, eg. asking yourself questions such as, "what do I enjoy most about training CKD?" or "what aspect of my training do I want to focus on improving?" However, in our recent monthly Black Belt Training session at Ealing Choi KwangDo we sought to raise awareness during the activity.
3 Simple Steps
Firstly, before doing anything we agreed to reduce the speed and intensity of all drills throughout the class. Not drastically - just enough to ensure students can work at a consistent and moderately comfortable pace, while enabling them to think about what they were doing, while they are doing it.
Then we enhanced focus on the movements using the Three Ts:
1. Tool – which part of the body should be used for the techniques. Have you prepared this? Eg. For a punch, have you formed the fist correctly? Is your fist and/or arm in the correct position?
2. Type of movement – consider how the body should prepare for the movement and the trajectory of the arm or leg. Eg. For an Inward Punch, have you extended the arm with the fist and elbow level and the knuckles horizontal?
3. Target – where is the technique aimed towards or designed to make contact with? Eg. For a punch aimed at the head/face, which surface are you aiming for?
Exhaling with each technique can also assist with deliberate performance.
I made up the Three Ts in the hope that it would provide students with something concise and catchy while capturing the overall theme in a simple way: to make the experience of Choi Kwang-Do practise more purposeful and keep our minds in the present moment. If you try them, let us know how you get on!
Jason Wright is a 6th Degree Black Belt and Master Instructor in the martial art Choi Kwang-Do. For further information on Choi Kwang-Do classes in Ealing, West London visit www.TheMartialArtForLife.com/free-trial