Tips for Practicing Tae Kwon Do at Home
Class is over and you stand, bathed in buckets of sweat, with a hot shower and a comfortable couch on your mind. Most of your classes include the same basic elements: stretching, warming up, solo drills, pad and partner drills, forms and some sparring. You know that regular attendance is required for advancement and you never miss a class, if you can help it. Good for you. However, what are you doing between classes?
The truth of the matter is that perfection requires thousands of repetitions and you will never reach that level if you limit yourself to practicing only when the training hall is open. In order to progress and meet your individual potential, you must train at home.
In case you aren’t sure what you should be working on at home, we’ve put together some tips and best practices to help you get started.
Stretch in your spare time. Flexibility is a must and stretching once or twice a week isn’t going to cut it. Flexibility needs to be worked on a daily basis. Fortunately, stretching can be done just about anywhere. Pitch those legs out to the side, while watching your favorite television show. Stretch those shoulders while sitting at your desk at work. You get the idea. The point is that you remain mindful of your flexibility every day.
While not a requirement, it is helpful to keep a stash of gear in your home. A heavy bag (free-standing or hanging) is a great target for your kicks and punches. Don’t despair, if you don’t have the room for a bag, you can practice your kicks and punches in the air; however, be mindful that contact is an important element in strike development. Failing a heavy bag, you can also have a friend or family member hold a pair of kick paddles or a shield for you.
As long as you have the space, you can always practice your forms. Forms are an integral part of your training and develop the muscle memory required to execute techniques and transitions. If you don’t have room in your home, get some space in the garage, driveway, or yard. Practice your forms slowly and make sure you are doing it with power and proper technique. Slow training is important as it helps build proper technique and fluidity. There is something to the adage: slow is smooth and smooth is fast. While it is very important to practice your current form, we encourage your to practice all of your lower rank forms.
#4 – Explain the Techniques to a Family Member
Find a partner. One of the best ways to learn is to teach. Find a family member or friend that might be interested in what you are learning. Demonstrate and explain the techniques you are practicing. You will find that you gain a deeper understanding of a technique when you explain it to someone else and you may gain a new student for your school.
Taekwondo is a passion and a lifelong activity for many. Meaningful progress is earned through a dedicated pursuit of perfection. Perfection occurs through repetition and a burning desire to learn. If you want to be your best, you will need to find time outside of the training hall to focus on honing your skills.
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