In the early 1980’s when I began training with An-shu the world was very, very different. No cell phones, no internet, no skype, no training videos. Back then it was:
- get on an airplane
- figure out how to get to where the training was happening
- try to take it all in
- take notes (lots of notes!)
- get home
- do your best to figure out what the hell your notes were trying to tell you
Though I have been a bit nostalgic from time to time, given the choice I would opt to have the advantages available to all of you today.
If you are out there on your own I know that it can feel particularly challenging to have a clear sense that you are making progress in your training. Here is a tip that I believe is useful for everyone, and especially valuable if you are one of our students who is doing what you can all by yourself.
Figure out a way to film yourself “shadow boxing” a kata training scenario or specific movement and compare your movement to that of a master instructor. All of the courses at NinjaSelfDefense.com are an absolute gold mine for this process. Just pull up a specific lesson, study it, film yourself doing it, and start analyzing. The key here is to compare details of body positioning, posture, timing, distancing, etc.
Of course, this is particularly valuable to do if you are in fact working with a training partner. However, if a lot or most of your practice is shadow training it is very important to make sure that you avoid doing a lot of repetitions that train your body to move incorrectly. Every incorrect repetition creates habit and muscle memory that has to be later modified. Of course, even in the best of circumstances some of this is inevitable.
Take the time to run the experiment. I believe you will be happy with the results. While at first glance this may all seem a bit cumbersome, don’t lose site of the incredible advantage current technology is providing you. When I recall relying on memory and hastily scribbled notes as compared to pulling up a detailed video clip that I can run over and over again with the push of a few buttons, the nostalgia doesn’t last long. In my mind there has never been a better time to train. Then again, I suppose we will have to see what the future brings. I’m thinking holodeck and To-shin Do training with Klingons.