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The Importance Of Taking Notes After Training

Good guard

Keeping A Martial Arts Journal

This edition of the Lanna blog will be discussing the importance of taking notes after training. Taking notes is such an important part of your martial arts training. It is note taking that I credit for taking my martial arts game to the next level. While many people suggest taking notes during training, I prefer to take notes after my training session. During training I want all of my attention to be on the teacher’s explanation and on drilling the techniques. I want to make sure I don’t miss 1 word of the explanation and miss not 1 second of drilling time. Taking notes right when you get home also forces one to run through the lesson a second time in your head. It is now almost like you have done the lesson twice in one night. Really take the time to remember all the details of the lesson. Writing down notes forces one to go over the information once again. For many people writing something down is also a great method of retaining information. These notes will become your Martial Arts Journal and your Martial Arts Bible. It will have everything you have trained and all the emotions you have experienced, since the beginning of your Martial Arts career. I once did a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu seminar with Black Belt, Professor Shawn Williams. Shawn explained how he has a journal which has close to 10,000 pages, filled with notes since he was a white belt. Not only is this an exceptional study tool but also a great piece of memorabilia of all your hard work in the martial arts!

What to Include in Your Journal: When writing your journal the key thing is to document the techniques you worked on in class. It is important to explain these BJJ notestechniques to yourself step by step, in wording which you best understand. You must also talk about which techniques you found difficult and which you found easier. Discuss emotions that you felt when training and drilling certain techniques. All of this information will not only help you understand how to perform the technique properly but will also allow you to track and understand your emotions behind the technique.

When to Review Your Journal: It is important to review your journal as much as you can. Just like in school, the more you study, the more information you will retain. Martial Arts has a huge psychological component and therefore it is important to work on your psyche in addition to your physical game. While it is important to review your journal as much as possible, it is critical to review it whenever a repeat technique is taught. This is your time to study and add any additional steps, information, or insight about the technique into your journal. It is also important to look at how your emotions change as you continue to train. For example you may have had a lot of difficulty your first few times learning the arm bar, and thus have negative emotions associated with the technique or lesson, however maybe you notice that now you are not getting as frustrated and not experiencing negative emotions. This is a sign of improvement. All of these things must always be tracked and analyzed to ensure maximum progression.

I hope you all have enjoyed this edition. I hope that I have effectively educated all of you about the importance of keeping a Martial Arts Journal. If one person begins taking notes because of this blog, I will be a happy man!

Contributing Writer
Jordan Kravitz
Lanna MMA/ Gracie Barra North Toronto


7 responses to “The Importance Of Taking Notes After Training”

  1. John William Davis says:

    This is a great idea. I am going to begin journal keeping. I am a 3 stripe white belt at Gracie Barra Federal Way – Washington State – with about seven months experience in Jiu-Jitsu. While I have had the thought before to put notes on paper after class – I haven’t begun yet. Your article was very good. It was what I needed as a kickstarter. Thank you.

  2. Jim says:

    I have done this since day 1 keeping an ongoing MS word document as my memory isn’t exactly the best. I find that going back & reading, months and months back even, I can read through and remember the experience exactly, moment by moment. After becoming more familiar with the techniques and cycling through the curriculum where techniques start to repeat I will go back and refine my notes somewhat. Sometimes simplifying them as I have more of a vocabulary to describe basic positions where I used to have to describe the position itself, now I just say closed guard bottom and don’t have to describe that in too much detail. Always be very specific in your notes…ie: Left hand goes here, then RIGHT leg goes there, hip escape onto your right hip etc. Don’t leave anything up for guessing what you meant to write because you will forget little details after a while. Also, sometimes after doing a technique in class, then reading it over and letting it marinate a few days, & maybe solo drilling, you actually improve noticeably & can often actually pull it off sparring the following session. I will bring my journal in sometimes with certain things high lighted and work on problem areas during study hall, helps out a lot.

  3. J. says:

    I was convinced. I’ll give it a try!

  4. Luke C says:

    Funnily enough, my professor said this last night, of how important taking notes it. He also mentioned that he has been to seminars, and has a video library that he has made, of all the techniques he has learnt so that he can then teach us. After my third session of BJJ (I’ve been going twice a week for a month) I started making notes of the techniques and also who i rolled with during sparring and how I felt and what I believe I did well and any feedback Ive had.

    That was all noted down then emailed to myself. My afternoon task is to handwrite those 6 A4 pages into my new book and put in diagrams where necessary too!

  5. Eric Hertel says:

    This is a great idea. I used to do it back when I was a white belt. But as I progressed (now purple) I have stopped taking notes. I think because Im the one my instructor is demonstrating the techniques on. I need to hand my phone to a spectator and ask them to video classes for me.

  6. Francisco JOhann says:

    Good idea, thanx i was felling that i always forgeting a lot of posiciona And tecniques after training. I will start taking notes. Im a white belt from south Brasil.

  7. Alvaro says:

    Nice! I’ll start to write my jornal for sure!!

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