Thursday, September 22, 2011

Words of Advice for Beginner Karate Students

We have a small group of beginner students in the dojo.  Everything in class is new and exciting.  The group looks forward to each class.  They are disappointed when they cannot attend a session. 

My question:   "What words of advice would you give to new karate students?"

In my experience, one of the most difficult concepts for new students to grasp is the cumulative nature of karate.  The students learn material/basics/principals and are eager to move on to the next kata, the next weapon, the next self-defense technique.  In the search for "the next", they often leave some material behind.  Karate is a constant process of learning, refining, exploring, questioning and practicing.  One piece of advice I offer beginner students...Karate is Cumulative.

Your advice?

6 comments:

Charles James said...

In a word Michele, "Patience, patience, and when you feel like you have patience - get more patience." Any new endeavor humans enter into is new, exciting and wonderful.

When you mention how "eager they are to move on to the next " I think that this is the most difficult lesson for any martial artist to learn. To learn that this eagerness, although admirable in people, is the biggest detriment to learning the foundation of all martial systems, the fundamental principles of martial systems which includes such things as basics, kata, weapons, etc.

I might add when talking to newbies, "Take some time, relax, let things come in the way of nature - slow, easy and completely." Take your focus away from the future, don't give any time to the past and remain in this present moment learning this particular aspect of your system completely, thoroughly and with awareness.

This is the type of advice I would give to a newbie - patience, patience, patience!

SueC said...

I think I would probably explain to them that karate training is also circular and to expect that things they already think they know will be revisted time and time again as they progress through the ranks.

Felicia said...

The concept of training away from the dojo is sometimes a difficult one for new students to truly get. The reality is that it just isn't possible to learn all there is to know about karate in a few hours a week. I would remind them that times away from formal class - which should be about 80 percent of the time, I guess - is a good time to work on sticking points (that block that just doesn't "flow" or a stance that feel awkward and unnatural for example). Five minutes a day is all that's needed - not hours and hours, really. A quote I always remember is "The thing you do the most will be the thing you do the best."

Nice post, Michele :-)

Charleyhorse said...

Obviously the advice offered previous to this reply is golden. So I'll take it in a slightly different direction. It's a good idea to record their training progress as students.

A training diary [electronic or otherwise] can serve as both a motivation tool and a study aid. One good habit is to document the training session down to the specific instructions if possible.

Another useful training and motivation tool is a visual recording. If you can see the literal differences between your performance as a white belt in comparison to your performance as, say, a green belt, then it is easier to understand body movement and timing.

SenseiMattKlein said...

I would tell them always to remember the basics, for that is what you will rely on when the going gets tough. On the street, a power roundhouse kick done over 10,000 times will be way more effective than a jumping spinning reverse crescent performed 500 times. The second one looks pretty, the first one works.

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