Sunday, April 27, 2008


One of the sure things about practicing the martial arts is that every practitioner is eventually going to hit a plateau.

For some, a plateau may occur after they get their black belt. For others, it may be after they feel that they have reached a goal they were shooting for, like having confidence that they could defend themselves, or maybe meeting a weight loss goal. Plateaus can truly happen at any time. Some students may reach a plateau after their first test, others may not plateau until long after they are a black belt.

Reaching a plateau can cause a student who has been very excited about his/her martial art to suddenly feel disenchanted with the process. Some students may even quit.

The wise student looks beyond the plateau to the long term benefits of practicing. If the student perseveres, he will be rewarded over the long haul.

Home Dojo

Having your own personal dojo space at home is important to staying motivated to train between classes. All you need is an area that is big enough to do a kata and maybe a few supplemental training devices you can make yourself.

Just follow these steps and you'll be ready to train in no time:

Step 1: Pick a place to train
Finding the right place at your home to train will be a key factor in whether you actually make use of the training space or not. If you have a room that you can dedicate to only karate training, fantastic, but this is not necessary. In the past, when I did not have a dojo to train in, I used my garage as my dojo. Garages make excellent dojo, but be prepared for the weather and bugs.

Your personal dojo should have the following elements:
  • Enough room to practice kata
  • No safety hazards
  • Privacy from observers
Step 2: Outfit your Dojo
To practice karate you really don't need anything but the space and the time. You may, however, wish to outfit your dojo with a few supplemental training devices to enhance your training experience. Here are just a few...

  • Mirror
  • Interlocking mats
  • Free standing bag and/or makiwara
  • Small, free-swinging target such as a tennis ball on the end of a clothes line

Step 3: Pick a time to train
This can actually be more difficult than finding a place to train in your home. Try to find a time when you will have as few interruptions as possible. If you live somewhere with a hot summer climate, you may wish to pick a time later in the evening or early in the morning when it's cooler. Maybe you're a morning person? If so, then get up extra early and train then. A night person? Train before bed. Have some time at lunch? Maybe lunch is the right time. The point is, pick a good time you can be consistent with.

Step 4: Just Do It!
Now that you have created your personal training space, and found a good time to train, it's time to start training.


Sunday, April 13, 2008

In it for the Long Haul...

Karate is an skill that is best acquired over time. Being in a rush won't get you there any quicker. Learn all you can and always be prepared to begin again.