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Congratulations on enrolling into a Distance Training program!! Being a home study student is DIFFERENT than being a physically present student. You must have more self-direction, discipline, organization, and internal motivation. Here are some tips and necessities to being successful:
1. Be Committed to Excellence
Let me be clear that my standards for Distance Training & Physically-Present Training students are THE SAME. I have awarded black chevron (and black belt) ranks to several dozen students from my training facility and around the world – their performance were in similar levels. You must commit yourself to 100% excellence in your performance – from how you train at home, to doing stances, yells, strikes, consistent practice, physical fitness —– I am looking for your level 10 effort always.
2. Post Your Rank Requirements & Focus Only on These
You need to post the “current” rank requirement that you are working on somewhere you can see everyday. So, if you just began the Ultimate Bo course, you are working on your yellow chevron. Take this sheet form the manual (or make a copy), and put it on your fridge, bulletin board, wherever. Focus on these requirements ONLY – don’t worry about more advanced techniques right now. First, LEARN all of these techniques by practicing along with the video (this should take 2-4 session with the DVD generally). Next – practice and bring out the level of excellence during your practice sessions.
3. Make a Practice/Workout Schedule
Ahh —- everyone gets lazy on this one. You MUST schedule your practice in some way each week or it will not get done (at least, as effectively). I recommend at least twice a week – 3 times being better. I would workout for 20-30 minutes (cardio, kickboxing, flexibility) and then practice with your bo for 20-30 minutes. Focus on the form you are doing, or the techniques themselves – in front of a mirror is great – or go outside where it is calming and open.
4. Give it Your ALL in the Video Exam
I have had students in the past filming themselves for the video exam – and it looked like they were just going through the motions. It was like they were simply practicing with the camera on. THIS IS A TEST!! You must go into the video exam like it is a physically-present martial arts test, where you have hundreds of students and the crowd watching you, along with a panel of black belt judges. Give it 100% in your effort, yells, spirit – it WILL show through the video.
5. Immediately Correct Mistakes & Take Criticism Well
This last one is most important for your long term success. As a distance student, you must be humble – taking constructive criticism and immediately correcting is the way you will make progress. Just read that last sentence again – it is sufficient. Good luck – and look forward to your many successes in this new journey with you! –Sensei Michael Hodge
Below I explain it all in a video: