The Tao of Taekwondo

Notes and reflections from a deeper practice of traditional taekwondo

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Making improvements

A great post from John Vesia on getting better gradually:

1. Videotape yourself. I can't recommend this enough. Whether you're interested in improving your sparring or rolling skills, a taped rendition of your performance on the mat will give you a fresh perspective. Prepare yourself to cringe at mistakes you had no idea you were making, while at the same time express surprise at how well you do certain things.

2. Keep a written log. When I started training I was given a manual with most of the techniques needed to advance through the ranks. Make it a point to note which ones need work and detail a routine to fix these deficiencies. If you're training primarily for fitness and health benefits, record the number of basics, pushups, and crunches you're able to do over a period of time.

3. Slow down. When I see somebody flying through kata at warp speed I suspect they're trying to conceal something, albeit unconsciously. The next time you work your form, slow it down as if you were performing tai chi movements. At some point actually stop midstream and look at what you're doing. Is your back straight? Are you bending your knees to their proper depth? Are your toes pointing in the same direction as the target of your hand strikes? It's the details that count.

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