I need a lot of practice in order to get my patterns ready for my next belt test. I have a plan for how to get myself in gear and learn those patterns inside and out.
In the second half of each Taekwon-do year, my instructors host a competition class. The purpose is to provide an opportunity for students to sharpen their competition skills – to improve their precision in their patterns and their scoring in their sparring. Even though I take the competition classes each year, I am not particularly inclined to compete. Instead, I attend so I can sharpen my patterns through focused practice and so I can hop in the ring with other female students and give them a decent sparring partner.
Competition classes are starting this Tuesday and it is a huge wake-up call for me. If those classes are on the agenda, it means that June is not that far away. I am still hoping to test for my 3rd degree black belt in June* but I am seriously stalled on my patterns.
I have three patterns that I have to be proficient in for my test. I have been taught two of the three** so far but I still don’t quite have them down. I get stuck at certain parts, the movements don’t flow easily, it doesn’t feel like I *own* them yet. They aren’t totally out of reach or anything drastic, they are just a bit tricky. Really, my issues with the these two patterns just come down to a lack of focused practice.
That’s not to say that I have not been practicing at all but I have not being doing the sort of practice that I know I need to do to be ready for my test. I know what it feels like when I am building the connections in my brain that will let me do my patterns with ease and I have not been doing that specific type of work. There are lots of good reasons why I haven’t but it is definitely time for me to switch gears and bring my focus to that type of learning.
That’s why I have decided to let you know about my need to do this type of practice, since knowing that you are paying attention will help me stay one track.
Starting today, I will do AT LEAST 15 minutes of focused patterns practice a day until March 31.
Some days I will be doing Eui-Am (I almost have this one ready), others I will be doing Juche (this one’s trickier), and on other days, I will be practicing my earlier patterns so they will be ready for when I need them.
How does all of this relate to the competition class? Well, for starters, those classes create a sense of urgency – moving my practice from ‘something I should get to’ to ‘something I must prioritize.’
Plus, now I have opportunity to bring those developing patterns to competition class and focus intently on improving them. We get lots of assistance in our regular classes but there is something extra that we all bring to those competition classes that will really help me zero in on my challenges.
I will write about my progress (in addition to other things) in my two blog posts in March so you can know if I keep my promise.
Let’s see what that 15 minutes a day will bring.
PS – Are you in need of focused practice on anything at the moment? Want to join me?
*My tests are at my instructors’ discretion. The plan is for me to test in June but if they deem that I am not ready, I won’t be testing.
**I’ll be learning the third one in class over the next little while.