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After working with my own distance training students for over five years, my students have told me what has helped them stay motivated, organized, and on track to getting to black belt.
1. Someone to hold you accountable. Yes, as your instructor I will push you and give you feedback…but I am not there with you every day. Most successful students have a spouse, parent, family member, or friend that keeps an eye on them. I am not talking about needed a partner, but someone to (figuratively) kick you in the rear every now and then…ok, maybe literally as well… 😉
i. ???What if I prefer to be a loner – and that is THE REASON that I am doing a home study course??? – Ok, you will be fine. Although it is very helpful to have someone to hold you accountable, you can still make it alone (but you better be disciplined).
2. A ‘makeshift’ dojo that you call your own. I think it is very important to ‘make an attempt’ at creating your own training space. I get it, you may live in a cramped apartment, with a roommate – or just not have a room or space to spare. THERE IS ALWAYS A WAY (where there is a will…am I right?). People often overlook this. If you try to workout in the same place that you eat, sleep, scratch yourself, and watch TV – it will be hard to trick your mind (and self-control) into working out and improving yourself. Here are some ideas:
i. The Garagedojo – clearing out all of, or half of your garage. Buy some puzzle mats – I use the ones from www.greatmats.com – get a wavemaster – get a yoga mat if you need to. And put up a few mirrors if at all possible.
ii. The Hideaway Training Center – this can be done in the living room or a large bedroom. Have a rollup or folding mat that you store in your closet. Move all of your furniture away to the walls…pump up your music and/or instructional video…change into you martial arts uniform.
iii. The Outdoor Okinawa – Bring your gear bag, set a 30 minute/45/60 minute timer and get to it. I emphasize the timer…if you don’t use this, you will have an itch for quitting early at times. You see, by going to a martial arts school, you will be in a set class time from this time to this time — you must recreate that same experience at home.
3. Some great material (videos/books) – learning plan. This is a given (especially if you are already a student. You need a plan, you need a curriculum, you need something organized. Don’t expect to become a black belt by watching random youtube videos ‘whenever you feel like it’ – that is just not taking it seriously enough. Of course, you can purchase the Ultimate Bo, Ultimate Chuks, or Ultimate Karate program to train with me.
4. Get ‘plugged in’ to the martial arts community. Especially since you are not physically training at a martial arts school; this has become more important. I recommend that you join a martial arts community online and subscribe to a magazine or two. Of course, Black Belt Magazine is always a favorite.
5. A healthy diet and stress free life. Bet you didn’t see this one coming. The truth is, most people don’t put their home study martial arts training as their #1 priority in their life. Well, this is obvious, you’ve got to work and take care of your family. But, the thing is, if you are not eating well….or are too stressed out from work, or family – it will COMPLETELY and NEGATIVELY affect your potential progess.
i. Reevaluate your eating habits. Do I really need to eat fast food instead of a fresh sandwich, for example?
ii. Are you drinking water constantly throughout the day? If you are not – you are not at your optimum health. Drinking water is SO SO Important.
iii. Are you working non-stop? Get your life under control by doing some simple things to improve productivity such as: not incessantly checking your email, turn off facebook/social media notification, learn the 80/20 rule and how it can be applied to every task you think you need to do.
What about YOU, do you have any other resources to share with your fellow students?
You may also want to check out my post – How to Be A Successful Home Study Student for more info.