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10 ways to manage your training time and increase efficiency.


Martial arts mastery is all about training hard, but the fact is, working hard doesn’t yield the same results for everybody. With an equal amount of effort, some are able to generate better results than others. That’s because, one not only has to train hard but also train smart.

Here are 10 ways to manage your training time and increase efficiency. Although any single way could help you increase your training efficiency, the following rules work best when used together.


Make a decision:

First and foremost, as a martial artist, you have to decide that you want o increase the efficiency of your training. Whatever your motivation for training, you need have a desire to better yourself and to be willing to pay the price to achieve your goal. decision -- courtesy of


Develop clear goals and objective:

6 steps to help you

1-     Write down in details what you want to achieve with your training.

2-     Set deadlines for your main goals and sub goals. Deadlines act as motivator and the sense of urgency it create as the deadline approaches will help you get the “good stress” that will help you achieve your goal.

3-     List everything you have to do to achieve your goal

4-     Organize your list into a plan, with a schedule and a timeline

5-     Take action on your plan, do not procrastinate and delay.

6-     Do something every day to moves you toward your goal.

goals_1 -- courtesy of

Set a goal towards which all your efforts will be directed to. Setting measurable goals, which is not easy when pertaining to martial arts training, is an exercise of self evaluation that requires time and thoughts.

To win a competitions, to attain a rank or be a better martial artists are classic examples of goals people have.. From these vague goals, you must determine measurable aspects that compose your idea of the given goal.

Each goals needs to be divided into smaller, easier to manage daily goals.

For example, if you goal is to be a better martial artist, then list everything you lack that would make you a better martial artist. Let’s say you list your breathing habits and your side kicks.

Set a goal to do 10,000 side kicks with each leg during the next 120 days, all the while, monitoring breathing. That is 84 kicks per day or if you train twice a week, 295 kicks on each leg, complete with proper breathing every time you decide to train. After the 120 days and the kicks are done, reevaluate yourself, and set new goals.

Goal setting is a double edged sword which can help as much as it can harm. On the long run, setting goals can impede your martial arts progress, as people tend to see goals as an end and will stop working once the goal is reached. Another danger is setting your goals to low and reaching it, as that means you did not push yourself to surpass the limit of your ability.


Plan every training session in advance

If your goal is your destination, the plan are the directions to get there. Plans will remind you of goals and help you avoid procrastination, helping you increase the efficiency of your training.

-     Prior Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performances.

-     Write a masterlist for the long term future. Based on your long term goals, list everything you would need to do in order to reach that goal.

-     Pick a list of aspects you would like to work on before each training session.

-     At the end of each training session, look back at your training and determine of much of your list was achieved. Also write down any weaknesses you have discovered during your training that will require more work on the next session


Train at energy peaks

-     Identify the time of the day when you are at your very best and if possible, try to train during those times. Doing so will allow you to have the energy to train longer all the while, keeping maximum concentration. 

-     Help your body maintain maximum energy by eating well, sleeping well and by avoiding excess.


Focus your training session on key aspects

focus -- courtesy of During training session, instead of working on multiple aspects, try working on an aspect for a long period of time before moving on. For example, if your short term goal is to master a certain kata, instead of repeating the kata over and over, you may want to break the kata into smaller sequences – or better yet, break the kata into individual movements – and repeat them over for a period of time. This will make a longer lasting “muscle memory” as well as help you  learn faster.


“Eat that frog”

… If you are able to eat that frog, anything else you eat in comparison will taste great.

At the beginning of each training session, do the exercise you hate the most. Then, you’ll have the consolation that the worst part of your training is over. Remember that if you must eat a live frog, it won’t help to sit and look at it.


Use travel time productively

Research shows that people who imagine themselves lifting weights – for the same amount of time as other people who actually lift weights - actually increase their strength. High profile athletes visualize rehearse their performance right before they need to compete. The brain doesn’t make a difference an imagined event and a real one, effectively gaining the same value as real experience, as long as you can visualize with clarity and intensity.

Picturing yourself sparring with an opponent, working on a movement or a kata will you memorize all the technical details required to properly execute your training

A good time to have your “imaginary workout” is when you are sitting in the bus or subway, on your way to work, school or training ground.


Re-evaluate yourself each year

Every year, revisit your goals and make necessary adjustments. Practice zero based thinking, in other words, ask yourself: “If I was to start from scratch, knowing what I know now, what would I do differently?”


Don’t forget 20/80 rule

“Martial arts mastery is 20% talent, 80% sweat.” No matter how talented or how well planned, 80% of results will still be attributed to 20% of your hard – and smart -work.


Keep your life balanced

Although martial arts training can be an important part of life, never forget other aspects and people that are part of life. Enjoy personal life and remember that hard work only serves to achieve a better life. balance -- courtesy of


Blog Entries and articles that may interest you

Sources and bibliography

Kim Roach,  50 Ways To Increase Your Productivity, consulted on Feb 18 2010

Scott Young, 7 Lesser Known Ways to Increase Productivity, consulted on Feb 18 2010

Tracy Brian, 21 Great Ways to Manage Your Time and Double Your Productivity   

unknown author, Visualization, consulted on Jan 14 2010

Stone Sara, The Technique of Visualization: For Athletes, consulted on Jan 14 2010

Last Updated on Tuesday, 22 March 2011 21:39  

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