Martial Arts


Create a Training Journal
by Master C. Terrigno - 6th Dan
Editor, Tang Soo Do World

When a white belt enters the dojang for the first time it can be an overwhelming experience. So much to learn and remember.
They want to be like a sponge and absorb it all but quickly find out they are getting saturated, and new information simply leaks out. They have many questions but often never ask them for fear of looking foolish. All they can do is hang on and go along for the ride. For senior Gups, and even Dans, the learning curve is not as steep but they face the same challenges, but on another level. With higher rank comes more information, concepts and questions, only now it is cumulative.

An excellent way to help you focus on the key areas of your training is to keep a training journal. Within each class there are dozens of instructions given - don't look down, kick along your body's center line, remember to breathe, etc. It may be a principle in self-defense that's discussed or a strategy for sparring. If you observe closely or listen intently, there is always some bit of information worth noting for future reference.

As you get deeper into the martial art process, you might include observations you've made about yourself, how you've changed or your overall progress. It can also be a place to map out your short and long term goals. More important, I think that keeping a journal forces you to think about what to write in it. As a result, you look at things differently and focus on areas that you may not have before. In that way, the journal evolves beyond a simple diary to a living testament of your journey and hard work, and will without question improve the depth and quality of your training experience to the Dan level and beyond.

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