How to Practice

By Shun Shifu Plaugher

What is the best way to practice? That is not an insignificant question. Success in most endeavors in life relies on consistency, so avoid the common pitfall of starting big and then fading away. The guidelines below are a good way to build a practice regimen that you can stick to and most importantly see results.

How long should I practice?

 There is truth to the old saying “inch by inch everything’s a synch.” The best rule to follow is to be sure you practice every day, or on a consistent schedule of some kind. There is little benefit to practicing for hours if you then take days or weeks off. Be realistic with yourself and your expectations. Can you really devote an hour or half hour? If you can, great, but if you can’t then what can you do? You may think five or 10 minutes isn’t enough, but if you spend five or 10 focused minutes every day you will be amazed at what you accomplish. Set a reasonable time and stick to it. If you can do more some days, then do it, but never do less. Make no excuses, we are all busy.

What time of day is best for you to practice? 

For most of us the best time to do something is when we can. Although rising early and practicing is probably the most desired time, can you do it? More importantly, will you do it? If you can get up early and practice, then do it, but if not, then find the time where you can. Instead of staring at the microwave carousel while heating up your snack, you can practice. Commercial breaks while watching TV? What about pulling over to that park you pass on the way to and from work, and doing it there? Remember we are talking about 5 or 10 minutes. I used to work for a bank years ago, and I used to practice for a few minutes when I finished servicing the ATM. It was an enclosed room, and it was perfect for running through some material. Be creative, and you will find that you can find a good fit for you.

What do I practice?

 Starting with the newest material is best, so you can sink it deep into the brain and muscles. Keep a notebook and write down what you learned and what you need to fix after class. I have been doing this since I started and it has helped me tremendously. Sometimes the act of writing something down solidifies the information in your mind, and you don’t really need to even look at the notes, but make them anyway.

The next step is repetition. Repeat everything at least five times, and then move on. If you make a mistake, make the correction on the next repetition. The goal is to build muscle memory, so be sure to practice slowly at first and only speed up as you build proficiency. Fast and wrong is still wrong, and often the only one that doesn’t see the difference is you. If you write down what you are going to practice and then check it off as you go, you will make progress and more importantly, you will feel like you are making progress. A sample practice routine can be:

  1. Snap kick (Make sure I am not lifting my leg, but driving with foot) 5 X’s
  2. Outward block (turn wrist correct way, and have arm at ¾ extension) 5 X’s
  3. Two hand wrist grab (Opponent is close) 5 X’s

A simple routine like the one above is a great way to start. Then you will be able to build a practice system that works for you. You can add a longer time period, more repetitions, swap out techniques, or even just focus on one problem area that is keeping you from that next rank. One thing is certain, if you focus your attention and intention on what you want you will get it. Start now!