An Unexpected Training Tool

Blogging as Training

I've been writing posts for this blog for over a year now. In that time, I've written about kicking, performance, motivation, cross training, and what instructors are. For each of those articles, I relied on my experiences as well as information I had been passed from others via word of mouth or from things I had read while researching martial art related topics.

My last post was written about keeping a log of your training. I've been doing that for about six years now. The logs have gone through many different forms. I have a notebook that is fading with some pages are not legible due to finger smudges in the graphite or water spots. I also have steno pads with check lists of what to focus on and goal deadlines. Three months ago, I lost a notebook. Not just any notebook, but the notebook I had been recording in over the last two years. Luckily, some of the stuff had already been recorded digitally, but I lost a whole seminar's worth of material that day. That's what prompted writing my last post.

Time for Analysis and Reflection

While in the writing process last month, I came to realize something important. The time I spent writing things down in notebooks or the time I spent writing blog entries is productive time for my training. While I may be sitting in a chair and not getting any kind of physical workout, I am still able to tweak my techniques or teaching methods.

When writing blog posts about techniques, it forces you to analyze what you understand about them, how you perform those techniques, how you train for them. What are you thinking when you kick? How does your stance affect the outcome of punching a board? How does posture affect the speed of the sword tip?

What is a Blog?

Way back to a time that most of our students can't remember - or weren't alive, there was no such thing as a blog. All the way back in 1997 (ha ha) the term “weblog” appeared. This referred to a web site that had regular or frequent updates. A couple years later, the term “blog” was used. Why is that important here?

This particular blog is nothing more than a public account of parts of my training log. When writing my posts over this last year, I have improved my kicking, kept myself motivated, trained hard in multiple arts, examined my position as an instructor, evaluated my performance and training techniques. I have done all these things, and you can all see approximately when I was doing them!

The Effects of Blogging

The first effect of blogging that I noticed was the improvement of my sentence structure and communication skills. Granted, those skills are far from professional level, but they are so much better than they were when I started. I go through fewer draft stages now, and find that I have to spend less time explaining what I mean in emails or chats because the efficiency level of my communication has improved.

I've also found that because I am writing about topics I study and know about, it gives me the opportunity to improve myself in those areas. The analysis of techniques or philosophies helps fill in the gaps that I may have previously missed. Ideas are sparked for the next training session which ultimately lead to better understanding. The better understanding leads to a better martial artist.

Today, I am a much better martial artist than I was a year ago. Not just because of the instruction I received or the number of hours I put into training on the floor, but because I also blog. Blogging has opened a few more connections to me because of feedback I have received from posts. That feedback and those connections opened me to more knowledge and experience than I had access to previously. I consider those new connections additional training resources.

In Your Hands

I'd like you to consider this activity. Not because “it's a cool thing to do” or because “everyone else does it,” but because of the benefits in your training you may find as a result. If you're shy, you don't have to publish anything, just write it for yourself or for your instructor.