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Don't fall prey to Kata build-up.

I recently heard a podcast by Ken Coleman, host of the Entreleadership podcast, who said that people who are feeling burned out at their job may actually be experiencing "build up." This may be a time when you feel stuck and you aren't motivated to do much of anything. Build up means feeling uninspired and in a funk. And how do we counteract funkness? Perhaps changing our routine, listening to motivational podcast (like the one I just referred to), taking a class, pivoting in our career or job, or just taking a 15 minute rest period to let your mind wander.

I had kata build up and was all but ready to give it up. I wanted my training to be for real life self- protection, I just didn't see how doing the same kata fifty billion times would help me to protect myself if I needed to. I am still struggling with this and I have to be intentional with my kata practice. Here are some things I do to keep from becoming bored with training kata.

1. Learn the real meaning behind the technique.

My wise and all things karate-knowing husband has recently been teaching Bunkai or the application of the technique. Knowing the true life application of the movements of your arms and legs is essential in your development. It will give you a fresh perspective. Training Bunkai will eliminate the auto-pilot mode- just doing the technique and not understanding the why behind it.

2. Use a visual.

In life you want to have a map and a plan. It is the same thing with karate. You have to know where you are and where you want to be and how to get there. Using a visual aid like the one below can help motivate you as be a map to where you want to go. It is good to see a plan on paper and it feels more real. Right now I am training for a sprint triathlon and I write my workouts down everyday so I can see how far I have come and how far I have to go.

3. Try new training methods.

Be open to turning your training routine upside down. Training in the same place on the same days can become tedious and stale. It is definitely on the teacher and coaches to switch things up to motivate the student in class, however each student has a responsibility to motivate themselves. Practice kata in the park, at the beach or lake, go to tournament, practice kata with your eyes closed, or to music, video yourself, do kata for a friend and ask for feedback. The great thing about kata is you can practice anywhere. I have practiced it in offices, my kitchen, hotel rooms, in the ocean, in the backyard, and in the car.

4. Be confident in your practice!

Don't be afraid to practice your kata in class during down times or while you wait for your class to begin. If you have a specific question ask a trusted higher ranked student for help. Try not to be concerned with what other people think of you and your performance. Understand that there will always be people that will judge you. It is high time to get over it. Now. I mean like right now. If you are putting in the practice and if you can get over your self- imposed limitations, practicing kata will improve all areas of your karate training.

I hope this was helpful to you. Please let me know of some of your training tips to avoid kata build up. And if you found value in this post please share on facebook, instagram, or twitter.


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