Note Taking in Martial Arts Classes

Just a Thought's Tuesday Tip: Take Notes

How many times have I asked students about a particular taekwondo technique only to be met with blank stares, and a "no we've not done it" response. Yet, the techniques were introduced and were part of belt requirements that have not changed in years. Then some point midway practicing, I'll get a confirmation that they're starting to remember the technique.

This blog was created end of 2008 to record notes for certain segments of my class. It provides instructor-side insight into the technique by providing more information or providing a different perspective not mentioned in class.

As I am no longer coaching national or sports representatives, the training journals kept by my students need not include competition preparation type training information. Journals however, should be used to capture techniques and tips for improvement. I typically offer personalised advice for each student whilst they learn or perfect a technique - all this should go into the training journal.

In my class there is no shortage of information. It seems only shortage of mental processes to retrieve information.

The training journal should also feature a practice schedule so that the student can practice skills required for the next grade. Any problems or issues should be noted and brought forward as part of the student's interaction with his/her taekwondo instructor.

I highly recommend students take a mature approach to managing their own path through traditioanl taekwondo. One of my pet peeves is to have to 'spoon feed' student practitioners.


Colin Wee
Traditional Taekwondo Techniques, Patterns, and Applications at the Traditional Taekwondo Blog. [Subscribe using email or RSS feeds] [Tkd Sitemap]. Colin is a martial art instructor with 25 years of experience across three continents. Colin leads a small Traditional Taekwondo group for adults in Perth, Western Australia.

Connect with Colin on FaceBook and Traditional Taekwondo Group on FB.


BSM said…
My second TKD school required us to maintain a journal and turn it in at all promotion tests.

Students could comment on strengths and weakness. Also, instructors would look at it during the test and include the testing sheet with comments. Sometimes they'd also comment on other student comments throughout the journal.

Still, during my 1.5 years there teaching low to mid-belts I ran into a lot of memory loss. I also noticed that the higher your rank the less likely some students where to ask questions. Once that belt became black they got nervous.

I remember the first time I sparred "Tornado" (our best student) after having gotten my black belt. We've sparred before and we were both good about control. I think when he saw the black belt he suddenly thought I was filled with deadly skill and it was all I could do to not get murdered. Tornado was a tri-athelete who still competed. He was also about 28 to my 40.

I should have used my "authority" to pull him back in check. Instead, I had my so-called "honor" (or ego) to defend so I tried to stick it to him. Pretty dumb when I look back on it. Anyhow, I barely contained him and barely beat him. BTW he was a blue belt!

He's since moved on and reachieved blue belt at a different school. He's taking expensive lessons from a master who was on Korea's demo team. He will be a very good black belt when he achieves the rank!
Colin Wee said…
Typically at gradings I provide a pretty thorough assessment to the student, including what I'd expect to see again on their next test. At least I'm doing my bit.

As for pent up anxiety - yes, I've encountered a similar story before. I was sparring against an ex-BB who was wearing a white belt to signify his starting new in our school.

He was sparring hard and not acknowledging my strikes. In the end, I hit him really hard a few times, he complained, then I got hurt, and then I was going to kill him. I got agry because I got hurt when he didn't follow 'acceptable' rules despite my holding back.

Thankfully the bell sounded and I was stopped in time.
Michele said…
Hi Colin: Thanks for the mention and for adding to the discussion.

Great suggestion about the practice schedule!
Colin Wee said…
Hey Michele,

Yeah, took that suggestion straight from my son's violin nazi... I mean teacher.


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