How do you measure progress in martial arts training?

I’m looking for more objective measurements, rather than belts (not that theres anything wrong with them, i think they’re good for long term recognition but i’m talking about immediate feedback). Especially during training outside of class, how do you know you’ve practiced a technique, worked on a bag, or practiced a kata enough for the day? How do you directly measure how much your techniques have improved? Was just thinking about it and it got me curious.

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7 Responses to How do you measure progress in martial arts training?

  1. daleschmalz@ymail.com says:

    get a punching bag a speed bag and some kind of a human sized doll to practice on or a sparring parther

  2. jono_1365 says:

    If you focus on training, well I guess or kicks, are you using your leg height correctly, is there a good snap in the kicks, can you kick hard as well as fast..and how do you compare against a static target (training item) and against a moving target, like a partner? Belts are great for allowing you to unlock new syllabus content, but a yellow belt can be great if he / she does techniques to best of their ability. One training aid I have is the wing chun wooden dummy. So I know I can hit hard and absorb impact because I use this tool correctly. But without it, I would be substandard – decent, perhaps, but not as good as I could be. So there is rarely one way to measure your progress. Ask your teacher to give you more guidance outside of your own grade / rank. Good luck to you.

  3. callsignfuzzy says:

    Measuring it day-to-day isn’t easy. Most gains are small and unnoticeable, until you can, say, perform a kata perfectly without stopping, or beat that guy in sparring who’s skills used to overwhelm you. For the day-to-day things, I tend to allot a certain amount of time for it. It’s usually about an hour. You don’t want to get burned out.

  4. karatescientist says:

    how to know you are improving
    The sound of your punches and kicks change, you start hearing the snap without a uniform, movements become more fluid and you require less thinking of combinations
    in kata do you understand the movements and the targets can you move from one move to the next with proper transition without pausing through
    if you have practiced enough:
    are you physically tired or have something else planned that you have to do

  5. nick says:

    Easy, if the things you were practicing seem easier, or you seem to be able to do them with less concentration and faster, also if you mess up less, then you know that you are improving. It’s really as simple as that.

  6. Nick says:

    You posed a great question and I usually don’t get to say that. It’s incredibly difficult to tell since progression is so slow, gradual, and you never get an outside look at yourself. There will be a few benchmarks you might notice like being able to keep up a training routine longer than you have before and noticing initial gains and changes in your body but there are still a lot of people who do overlook this.

    I find one of the best benchmarks is honest training partners, especially if you do a lot of sparring, they have the best unbiased view of your training and those first impressions you made on them will stay as a measure of how far you’ve come. If they see you in the dojo everyday they’re going to notice the changes.

    But all that said, much of training is an act of faith. You do generally have to believe in what you’re practicing because in no system are results instant. Now, the truly best benchmark is outside competition. There’s no better way to test yourself than to step outside of the dojo and compare yourself to others in other systems. That’s a definite reality check right there. If you’re holding your own, you should be pretty confident that your training is paying off and it’s not just something limited to your specific school, the same reason you’d not hold belts as the ultimate measure.

  7. BaguaMaster says:

    The only way that you can know your training for the day is over. Is when you can barely move because of your tiredness. When your covered in sweat, and your heart is beating so loud that you can hear it. You know when you have learned anything at its fullest potential when you can execute it absolutely perfectly. You’ll know when every move you make feels entirely natural. When its almost a part of your being.

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