For SBN Caroline and I, our martial art of Kuk Sool Won™ is more than a hobby. It is our job, our passion and central to the way we live our lives. However, for most people, martial arts are a recreational activity. In our experience, students participate to get fit, learn some self-defense skills, build their confidence, and to enjoy the companionship of their fellow students. They set goals around achieving a certain rank and are motivated by the new material they learn at each new belt level. While the practice of martial arts is important, as with any recreational activity, it must fit in around many other life commitments.
A recreational martial art usually involves around 2 to 4 hours of structured training a week in a class environment. While this is enough time to learn the basic skills, in our martial art of Kuk Sool Won™ there is a lot of material to learn and perfect, especially as a student progresses towards black belt (and beyond). This invariably means our students need to practice their material outside of class time. This can be challenging, particularly for those students who are time poor or do not have someone they can practice with outside of classes. As well, students may not always have a training partner at the same belt level in their school. For example, my training partner left when I was a yellow belt (after six months of training). As ours was a small school, I never had another regular training partner at my belt level. Having a fellow student of the same rank as a training partner makes training much more enjoyable, helps with motivation, and aids the learning process, as you help each other to practice and remember your material. I know from experience that it definitely makes training more difficult when you no longer have another student at your level to train with.
While participating in martial arts as a recreational activity is enjoyable and rewarding, there are definitely some training challenges to be overcome. We have come up with some tips to make your training and practice more enjoyable and effective.
Martial arts training is a fantastic recreational activity. To get the most out of it, you need to be smart about how you train. The tips I have outlined above are ways to maximise the time you have available. Your instructor and other more senior students will also be a great source of knowledge. Ask for advice and be creative in the ways you train so that you can find works for you.
JKN Jane Hurst
First degree black belt and school owner
Kuk Sool Won™ of Onewhero
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Caroline is a 5th degree black belt and Jane is a 2nd degree black belt in the traditional Korean martial art of Kuk Sool Won™ . They run 2 Kuk Sool Won™ martial arts schools in New Zealand.