We all have different methods of learning. Some of us learn by repeating a new skill over and over, by listening to the instructor explain a technique, and some by watching it actually being applied. Yet, how can you actively strive to do better, if you aren’t keeping track of your progress or goals?
One of the best ways to keep track of techniques, retain knowledge and work on improvement in your martial arts journey is by keeping a journal.
A training journal allows you to:
Using a journal is a great way to maintain a written record of all the different techniques you’ve been learning. In the same way ancient martial artists used to use manuscripts and scrolls to write down their knowledge to practice and pass down, your journal is now your own written record of progress.
Whether or not you use your journal to teach or pass down methods is up to you. The main purpose of this journal is to aid you in your journey, however that may be. You might want to use this journal to help as a study guide before future belt tests, remember a specific technique sequence or mark down the nuances of more complicated and sublime movements.
Just having a physical copy of your techniques, helps with mental retention. Visually witnessing technique, practicing, and then the process of writing it down, helps for long term memorization.
Monitoring Progress and Setting Goals or Tasks
A written record of the progress you have made, such as physical achievements like pushups or kicks, is an amazing way to constantly push yourself and push past plateaus.
Keeping a constant record of how many pushups you’ve done will help you set goals of how many more you need to do, in order to beat your record. You can track the difficulties you may have in performing a certain technique and then create a program to improve for the future.
Logging How You Feel
Another important aspect of keeping a journal is logging how you feel. Writing down how you’re feeling, will allow you to better track development and tackle any holes in your game. Maybe one day things just aren’t working out for your as your train and this causes you frustration. When revisiting your journal later, you might find what was causing your predicament, helping you to not only better understanding your training, but also yourself.
Creating A Personal Resource Book
Maintaining a written collection of your training is an amazing resource that you can use. Have an upcoming belt test? Your journal just became your study guide! Have you moved onto becoming a senior student or instructing your own classes? You now have a guide to teaching technique and presenting work outs!
The ability to go back and look at something written, rather than trying to extensively rack your brain to remember something, is an invaluable resource!
How Should I Format My Training Journal?
Format your journal however you like! This is your journal and whatever works best for you is all that matters.
Some of the things you should or can include are the date, where you were training, who taught, what you learned, what class you took, relevant workout numbers such as reps, sets and exercises, how you felt and anything else that you believe is relevant or noteworthy to remember.
When Should I Use My Journal?
The best time to use your journal is up to you. In some school’s the instructor will allow you to take notes during class, while others will not. Whenever you have the time and are allowed to write in your notebook is when you should use it, just make sure to write down your notes as soon as you can so that they are fresh in your mind.
Now, if you cannot take notes during class or do not have the time, audio recording through your phone is always a great tool. You can transcribe your audio whenever you have the free time, only helping with your retention process.
Having a journal to visually look back and witness your growth or access prior information, as well as better memorize and reference specific technique, is great for your training and growth. Once you begin tracking your training with a journal, you’ll not only feel the difference and improvement, but actually have a record of this journey!