Given that martial arts training is a long-term activity, it's a really worthwhile and productive exercise and we’ve discussed a simple, practical approach in the past, but if you haven’t yet decided to start thinking about your goals for 2018 and beyond, here are a few quick tips:
1. Know Your Goal
Obviously, the first priority is have a very clear idea of what you want to achieve. Know and define your end goal. While an expected answer for a Choi Kwang-Do student goal might be “become black belt”, it could also be “achieve yellow belt senior within 6 months” or “find out what’s required to become an assistant instructor by the end of the year”.
2. Create An Action Plan
This doesn’t need to be complicated:
- Regular class attendance (where you can be supported by instructors)
- Regular practise at home (where you can refer to your syllabus guide)
Your actions will logically be guided by your overall goal and if the above 2 steps are on your action plan there is a high chance you are moving in the right direction. Your goal will also help to rationalise your actions too. If you’re aiming to achieve yellow belt senior in 6 months, and you are questioning yourself on whether you should allocate 10 minutes a day to practising your pattern and speed drill, the best answer is "yes".
Remember: action creates results!
One of my tasks over the Christmas break is to prepare and publish the schedule of dates of coloured and black belt gradings for the coming year. From this, students should be able to schedule realistic, short-term goals complete with the dates by which they can work to achieve them. For reference:
- Coloured belt gradings are roughly every 2 months for students taking 2 classes per week, and every 4 months for students taking 1 class per week.
- Black belt tag gradings are every 3 months for 1st degrees, and every 6 months for 2nd degrees.
- Black belt dan gradings are every 6 months.
As you will know, a sustainable way to achieve long-term goals is by breaking them up into smaller, more achievable, short-term goals. Thereby creating numerous successes and helping yourself stay motivated.
4. Keep Track Of Your Progress
Write down your short-term goals and their dates. A simple wall calendar can be useful for this and will inspire you in a number of ways. Firstly, the physical act of writing them in some way brings the goal 'alive', and using a calendar will provide a visual reminder. You'll see the dates approaching and be inspired to work harder towards achieving them. In addition, not only does ticking them off feel good, you can also look back to see your previous achievements and acknowledge how far you have come.
5. Reward Yourself
Like many other martial arts, Choi Kwang-Do is fortunate to have reward system in place: belts. These serve as an indication to both you and your fellow students your level of expertise and/or duration of time training. They are also great for motivation as they prove to you what you can do with a little planning, execution and focus.
Once you have achieved one of your short-term goals (and definitely when you achieve a long-term goal), reward yourself! This is will mean different things to different people - a new purchase perhaps (book, music, clothing), a meal with friends, etc.
Marking your achievements with something else you enjoy will give you something to look forward to and help you stay consistent.
6. Re-evaluate Your Progress
Every month or so, re-evaluate your short-term goals to make sure that you are still on track. How are you getting on? Great, or not so good? Was your goal realistic? Do you need to invest more time? Is your action plan working but not as you had hoped? Take time to assess what you need to do differently and adjust your plan or expectations. Feedback from an instructor can prove useful here.
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 for children, teens and adults in Ealing, West London visit www.TheMartialArtForLife.com