Scheduling and Stances

I have decided that it would help tremendously to come up with a schedule as to how and when I will practice every day. This came up partly because one of my instructors talked to me about regular practice on Tuesday night and I told him that I wasn't spending enough time practicing at home.

With it being summer, I have a lot of free time that I could be devoting to practice outside of class, but I am not utilizing much of it. I go to Tae Kwon Do twice a week, but I have only been practicing at home maybe 2-3 days per week for 1-2 hours at a time.

See, I tend to procrastinate quite often. On a given night I will 'plan' to get up early so I can run/jog before it gets hot outside and then I can spend an hour or so working on my Tae Kwon Do. As I fall asleep, I assure myself that I will get up as soon as my alarm clock goes off. But when my alarm clock does goes off, I start making deals with my half asleep mind. "Okay, I'll sleep for 30 more minutes, then get up!" Thirty minutes later, and I'm still sleepy and my mind is not rational. I repeat the same process a few more times and when I eventually drag myself out of bed, the sun is beating down and I don't dare set foot out of my house. The early morning run I had planned is ruined for the day, and half of the time I don't end up going outside to practice until it's too dark and the mosquitoes start swarming -- thus forcing me to head back to the safety of my house where there is not enough room to do my forms, which discourages me and then I don't end up doing anything else. I made that into a worst case scenario, but sometimes it has that domino effect.

Anyway, to ward off the procrastination and keep it at bay, I have decided to write down a kind of to-do list and schedule so I can get the practice I need, and work on specific areas that need more work then others. I know that for me, trying to practice too much on a given day is a problem. I start out on a form, and then end up not spending enough time on the form because I decide to work on kicks, 1-step fighting, shadow sparring, and whatever else pops into my head in addition to the form I began with. While variety is good, repetition is better. The things that I need to work and perfect right now require more repetition. I need to devote my time to one or two concepts for the entire practice time on that day.

Speaking of the things that I need to work on....

Last Tuesday night, Mr H who I have not seen in class in months, finally came to class. We spent the entire night working on advanced forms and he picked out the little things that need tweaking for the most part. Most of the little things were about timing, hand positioning that was a bit off, or something small that I can fix easily. On one form though, he noticed that several of my stances were not quite right. I was either too narrow, my back foot was turned out, or I needed to be deeper.

I realized later when I was practicing at home that part the reason why my stances were off was because of my at home practice. Most of the time I was in a room with very limited space for stances, so I would shorten my stances or move back when I ran out of space. If I was outside working on concrete or grass, I would not sink deep enough into my stance because it was slippery or my shoes made it difficult to slide into that good stance. Inadvertantly, I got used to the way I modified my stances at home, and that translated into bad habits in class.

When I realized this, I made the adjustments at home by making myself get into those deep stances. They're getting better now since I'm practicing correctly. Hopefully my instructors will see an improvement tomorrow.

From now on I will be organized, I will practice like I should, and I will practice correctly.


SueC said...

Hi Ariel,

Procrastination is a big problem for me as well! I find it difficult to find an hour or two at a time. I've found that little and often works better for me. You can do a lot of repetitions of something in 10 minutes!

I think having a written schedule is a good idea - then you can tick it off as you work through. I think you'll get a real sense of achievement and progress when you see things getting ticked off the list. I might even have a go at that myself.

I think post grading is always a time when our home training takes a dip so having a schedule is probably a good way of getting back on track. I'm currently at the other end - pre grading. I grade for 1st kyu in July so I really need to give myself a kick up the back side and do some work!

I like your new blog heading by the way - really cool!

Frank said...

Wow! Right on the mark. I do the same thing... I promise myself the night before, that I'll get up and practice, or walk the dog, or work out, or whatever... The alarm clock goes off, and I burrow down into the covers and hug my pillow tighter, and then get upset with myself later, for slacking.

I'm going to start going to bed earlier so I will be more likely to get up and follow through. Good blog!

Ariel said...


Good idea! I'll try incorporating smaller blocks of time.

I'm all about ticking off things on a list and seeing progress that way.

Good luck with your test in July. You'll do well and I can't wait to hear about it!



That sounds just like what I did this morning. I need to start going to bed earlier too. Feeling well rested should help with wanting to get up earlier.

Frank said...

Another thing I do, is to lay out my workout clothes before going to bed. It sends the message to my subconscious that I am getting out of bed when the alarm goes off, and it conveys the whole intention. When the clock goes off, boom: I'm out of bed and into my workout clothes before I even have the chance to think about it, and heck, since I'm already there, I might as well get down to it. ;-)

Michele said...

I have made kata adjustments due to space constraints. Once I realized what I was doing, I was quickly able to correct it.

Sounds like you have a good practice schedule.

Nice blog design!