Starting the Year on the Right Foot… and Punch… and Block

It’s a tradition to make resolutions about what we want to do or accomplish in a new year. Karate students and teachers are no different. What are your resolutions as a karateka for 2017?

Sadly many resolutions fall by the wayside just a few weeks into the new year. That’s not good! As students of the arts, we should strive to get better every year.


How do we do that? We do it a class at a time, and especially every time we practice.

Practice is essential, whether it’s in the dojo or at home. Practice at home might be the most important.

In a previous article I wrote about the 3-, 5-, and 10- repetition approach. I invite you to revisit that article for more information. After picking the repetition model that fits best, you need to decide how often you will use this practice model.


This is the tricky part: if you don’t plan when you will practice, then your resolution to improve your karate may not be met. That can spell the end of your new resolution. Think about your plan in a realistic way.

Generally young school age children and retired adults will have more time than those with full time jobs or who have very demanding academic schedules. As a rule of thumb I tell my students that they should practice at least three days a week in addition to their class attendance.

Our other obligations determine the days and hours we practice.Sometimes practicing three times a week is not always possible. The key is to make every effort to stay the course as much as possible and not to give up.

senseikamaSometimes we can practice a few minutes at a time. We often tell the younger students who like watching television that they have a perfect opportunity to practice when a commercial comes on. In every hour of television, there are almost 20 minutes of commercials! That’s a perfect time to work on stances, punches, kicks and blocks. Each of the kata we do are usually a minute long, with some of them less! Finding time to practice might actually be easier than it seems. Look for times in schedules where there are times where even a few minutes can be of great practice value.

Practice leads to progress. That resolution to improve our karate is done a little at a time. Students can sense their own progress in the same way their instructor can. This is one resolution that we must try very hard to keep.  Remember, you must work your karate if you want your karate to work for you!