Some of us could use a little extra motivation sometimes. Tournament involvement, for example, can be a good sourse of motivation, whether you are participating as a competitor, spectator, judge or organizer. There are other activities outside of regular training that can also help renew interest or bring one to a higher level in training. There is also enough to training in a good dojo that perhaps nothing more is ever needed. Regardless, keeping track of your activities can help with motivation or at least encourage one to keep trying and feel good about how much has been accomplished.
If you haven’t been training very long, just keeping track of how many classes you have been to might be a good place to start. How many hours have you trained? On top of this, we can add a list of techniques learned, maybe also along with the approximate skill level attained thus far in each.
And how about kata? Or exercises in general? I created Excel spreadsheets to help keep track of both of these. They were in the Files section of my old dojo YahooGroup. If you use such tools, you may surprise yourself with how much you are actually doing; sometimes more, sometimes less than what you had thought. Some of us may find ourselves doing more, simply because we are keeping track. This is of course one of the main reasons for doing this! 🙂
Here is an interesting exercise I ask all my prospective students to go through, particularly those coming in from other dojo. Total up all the HOURS you have trained. Think about it in as much detail as possible. Some people surprise themselves when they come up with the final number.
I know some people who keep a record of almost everything they did in any class, in the form of a training log. I did this for a short while when training in Japan. In hindsight, I should have done that much more. Now, I try to keep track of some of my better ideas for teaching classes as well as some of the things to avoid, that I have learned through trial and error.
Just as reading and talking about training, as well as watching videos and classes, is not a substitute for training, neither is keeping track intended to be a replacement for actual training. On the contrary, it is intended to help you train more, as well as better. I hope you can help motivate yourself to train more and train harder through keeping track of your training progress. As always, please feel free to pass on this article to others and feel free to contact me with questions and/or comments.
Copyright © 2022, Jon Keeling (originally published November 2003)