Martial Arts Blogs A Journey to Shodan: The Notebook.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Notebook.

One of the many things I have learned about myself in my years of Karate training is that I learn through repetition. Doing specific moves over and over to build them into my cell memory seems to be the only way I am able to retain information. If I only do something two or three times, forget it. Literally.

Take bunkai for example. Everyone on the team has a part to play, and those parts come and go quickly which doesn’t really afford time to embed them into ones memory. If you practice one section over and over, the rest of the team is left waiting, so generally sections aren’t repeated more than three times before moving on. For me personally, by next class I won’t recall what my specific movements were, and if you mess up in bunkai, you risk taking a shot square in the face. Enter – the notebook.

At first I was shy about bringing my notebook along with me to our bunkai training sessions. Instead I would excuse myself, take my notebook out of my gym bag and write feverishly before I forgot what I just did. When that became inconvenient, I brought the notebook with me and left it nearby to jot things down as necessary. People would tease me for using it, others wondered what the heck I was doing, and one of my Sensei's once threatened to burn it.
The truth is, that notebook got me through my first bunkai group last April. I could reference my notes, practice my sections at home, and arrive to the next class prepared. I didn't have to re-learn everything the next time our group met.

Being on two teams now for a December grading brings the pressure of remembering four different bunkai, but this time, I'm not shy about bringing my notebook. I've learned its value and apparently so have others. Now, when the team forgets what we did last week, they are actually asking me what the notebook says.

These days, I don't go to class without it.

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