5 Smart Ways to improve
Train smarter, not just harder.
Do you want to improve your Karate?
Of course. We all do.
Unfortunately, sometimes it feels like we’re not improving as fast as we want.
Especially if you’re an advanced practitioner.
In fact, research shows that your rate of improvement decreases the longer you’ve been practicing.
Unless you do something about it…
That’s why I want to share 5 smart ways to improve your Karate faster with you today.
I use these myself and with my students.
Check it out:
#1: Private Training
This is the best way to supercharge your Karate.
Regular training rarely leaves time for deep personal interaction with your sensei.
However, with private training, you get highly specific and personal corrections. This is especially important for advanced practitioners.
Imagine 1-2 hours of continuous, tailor-made personal feedback.
That’s what you get with private training!
Personally, I often book private lessons with local experts when I’m travelling.
Just last week I practiced 2 hours Wing Chun in Hong Kong with an 8th degree master. I’ve also done Capoeira in Brazil, Kobudo in Okinawa and Uechi-ryu in USA.
As a dojo owner who teaches private sessions almost daily, I can easily say that private students progress 10x faster compared to regular students.
Unfortunately, private training is expensive. Many people can’t afford it.
Another problem is timing, since private classes often need to be held outside of regular class times and must match your sensei’s schedule.
PROS: Personal and specific corrections. Time effective. Invaluable feedback. CONS: Expensive. Requires a competent sensei and must match his/her schedule.
#2: Seminars & Camps
Attending seminars & camps is a great way to broaden your knowledge.
They often cover a wide range of topics during a full day, weekend or week.
This kind of focused, intense practice is great for pushing you outside of your regular comfort zone. You are basically guaranteed to improve.
Moreover, when you attend seminars you often meet new and interesting people.
If you are a good networker, you can make awesome connections here.
Photo taken at my recent seminar in Canada
As an international seminar instructor myself, I see this first hand. The friendships people make with each other can last for years; transcending style, dojo and age.
The main problems with seminars are logistical.
Finding them, travelling to them, taking time off from work/school/family and making sure they don’t collide with your other dates can be tricky.
PROS: Concentrated dose of knowledge. Wide range of topics. Meet interesting people. CONS: Expensive to travel. Requires time & effort. Dates must match schedule.
This might come as a surprise, but trust me.
To teach is to learn twice.
Few things challenge your knowledge of a Karate as much as teaching it.
The reason is simple – when you teach something to others (especially beginners or kids) you are forced to rethink your understanding of it.
Like Einstein said:
“If you can’t explain it to a 5-year-old, you don’t understand it well enough.”
That’s why teaching is an amazing way to elevate your Karate knowledge.
(Believe me – I’ve been teaching since I was 16.)
The hardest part about teaching is to find a group of passionate students that consistently want to learn from you.
Also, if you’re not a natural born leader, it might be stressful.
You need to be comfortable with both your Karate skills, social interaction, pedagogy and interacting with students and parents.
But the rewards are incredible…
PROS: Boosts your Karate on a high level. Develops social and leadership skills. CONS: Very challenging. Requires more than “just” Karate knowledge.
A good book can change your life.
So, imagine what a great Karate book can do for your Karate!
Being a book lover myself, as well as a #1 Amazon best-selling author, I experience the power of books all the time. People love to tell me what they’ve learned from my work.
Many legendary Karate pioneers (e.g. Funakoshi, Mabuni, Konishi, Taira, Motobu etc.) wrote books as well. Some of these have been translated to English. Try to find them!
Unfortunately, it’s difficult to find exceptional Karate books.
For every 10 books you buy, 9 will be vanilla. Before you know it, your house is filled with hundreds of books – but only a handful are worth keeping. That can get expensive!
Luckily, books can be super cheap if you get them second hand.
However, it’s hard to learn advanced Karate techniques from books. Video is better.
PROS: Proven way to learn. Easily accessible. Doesn’t require batteries or internet. CONS: Bad for learning advanced skills. Hard to find best books. Requires space.
#5: Karate Nerd Insider
Finally, my favorite.
Karate Nerd Insider is my online video subscription club.