Our practices typically begin with a short warm-up, then generally include a mix of training in kihon (fundamentals), kata (forms), and kumite (sparring). We do not do full contact sparring, and our beginners do not do free sparring. The best way to see what training is like is to come and practice with us. You are welcome to observe a class if you want to see what we're all about.
Most of the trainings at our Bellefonte location allow time for
resistance training - hitting the heavy bag, hitting pads, lifting
weights, using resistance bands, etc. This is an important component to
your training, so try to make trainings in both locations to take
advantage of these opportunities. Self-Training Time
Training is generally structured class, and typically the last 15-30 minutes of class is time allotted for self-training. The last 10 minutes of this training time, everyone will reconvene to stretch as a group. The instructor will be present for the entire class, and is available to answer questions during the self-training time.
While everyone is welcome to work on what you need most work on, the instructor for class will give a suggestion or two at the beginning of self-training time in case you don't have ideas on your own.
Self-training time can be a difficult thing for most students. To assist in your training, below is an idea of what is (and is not) considered appropriate during this time. As we approach testing time, students also receive feedback from Sensei about what they specifically need to work on. Self-training time is a wonderful opportunity to address these areas. Please feel free to ask Sensei if you have questions about specific drills or exercises to work on these areas.
Time in the dojo is very limited, so we cannot waste any of that time. This is why it is important to be on time and to make the most of every moment we have in the dojo. There are some general principles related to self-training, listed below:
- The club instructors are always willing and able to help during this time. Please feel free to approach them. If no one has questions, they will work on their own training. But please feel free to ask any questions - just wait for a break to jump in and ask a question (for example, wait until a kata is finished before asking a question).
- All time in the dojo should be spent actively training. This means that there should never be time when you're standing around doing nothing (talking counts as doing nothing). Give the same effort during self-training time that you give during group training.
- Self-training time should be focused on yourself. This means that you should be training and working on things for yourself. You should not be worried about what anyone else is doing or giving unsolicited feedback to other students. Only the instructors should be giving feedback during this time.
- When you approach others, do not interrupt them if they are in the middle of something. For example, wait until someone is finished their kata or has a break in their training before asking for help.
- Approach other club members to help with partner training. Feel free to approach anyone to ask for a partner for sparring, for example, or for someone to hold a pad for you. Everyone should be a willing partner.
- Approach your Senpai to ask questions or to seek feedback. It is not appropriate to ask your juniors to give you feedback to correct your technique. On the flip side, it is never appropriate for someone to correct their senior's techniques. Remember to maintain proper etiquette even during self-training time.
With those things in mind, there are many potential options for how to use your self-training time, including:
- Kihon - work to improve your basic techniques. Some ideas include either continuing or expanding upon the drills that were done in that day's group training, or picking a specific thing that you need to work on and trying to refine that.
- Kata - train your kata, or any of the previous kata you have worked on. Learn the sequence of movements, work to improve your kata, figure out applications to your kata, or work to incorporate concepts from that day's kihon or kumite lessons into your kata training.
- Kumite - continue with the drills that were done in class. For advanced students (brown belts and above), this is a great opportunity to get practice with jiyu ippon kumite and jiyu kumite.
- Strength Training - improve your strength. Work on leg strength with exercises such as squats or lunges. Work on arm strength with exercises such as pushups or tricep dips. Work on core strength with exercises such as crunches, leg lifts, or planks. Work on your endurance by doing cardio exercises.
- Resistance Training - when opportunities arise, practice your techniques against the resistance of a pad or heavy bag, or use weights or resistance bands to help improve your technique.
- Flexibility Training - work to improve flexibility through stretching. However, it is important to not think of stretching as a passive activity. Actively work to stretch, and push yourself to improve your flexibility. Except in very rare circumstances, you should not need to spend the whole self-training time with flexibility training. Remember that the last 10 minutes of class will focus on stretching as a group.
Keep in mind that the self-training time is meant to allow each student to focus training time on areas where they need the most work. It allows you to specialize your training and allows advanced students time to focus on more advanced concepts. But remember that whenever you're in the dojo, you should be actively training! If you have questions or would like ideas on areas on which you should be focusing your training, please feel free to talk to Sensei before or after training for guidance.