Over the years, I have learned some tips, some tricks of the trade so to speak, to get a student to improve their martial arts quicker. These aren’t secrets, but they are often neglected truths, that some either ignore or forget. I can personally attest to the effectiveness of each of these tips, as I personally use them and teach them to students I instruct.
1.) Train at home – This one is preached often in schools but is seldom followed. While taking a few classes a week is fine, to truly get better and to do so faster, you need to train at home and in the school. Training just an hour a day at home (alongside standard classes) will take your martial arts to the next level.
2.) Sequence techniques – Even if you’ve thrown a thousand of the same kick, break it down starting with chambering the leg and technique and ending with retracting it and returning to the relaxed position. This will help develop proper form and make you much more apt with the techniques you’re drilling.
3.) Slow down – Performing a technique incorrectly a million times isn’t worth throwing it correctly five. Slow down your techniques, move as slow as possible with them and let speed naturally build up.
4.) Stance work – One of the most looked over parts of training is developing proper stance and learning how to fluidly move between them. A proper stance offers balance, stability, speed and strength and is the very foundation for everything else. Practice moving through the stances, they aren’t meant to be static and stationary!
5.) Train with weights – This doesn’t mean you need to get “jacked,” but adding long lean muscle to the body helps in every avenue of martial arts. Throwing punching while holding weights or with weighted wrist bands, kicks with weighted anklets et cetera… improve speed and strength, while building muscles and stability.
6.) Hit pads and bags – Having great techniques means nothing if you don’t know what it feels like to hit something and can’t target your shots. Bag and pad work cannot be overstated, it teaches you more in a one-hour session than punching air for a year can.
7.) Break down kata – Break down kata into sections of three to five movements and once you’ve learned those work on the second set and so on. Once you know each section, combine th0em into six to ten part sections and continue doing this until you know the entire kata.
8.) Use your hips and waist – utilize your hips and waist in every technique, shifting from side to side as needed and with each movement.