Monday, 21 September 2009

REPOST: Martial Artist's Plateau Effect

Over my training years, there have been countless times when i have thought that no matter what i do, i haven't been able to improve, even sometimes i have felt that my hard acquired skills are decreasing!

The strange thing is also that my training has always been consistent. I once read a chapter in a book entitled The Karate Do Manual by Sensei Vince Morris, in which he talks about the plateau effect.

In a nutshell he says that it is a short period of time when your brain is soaking in new information and it will feel as if you can not do anything right. When sparring you will be getting hit constantly, your balance will be completely lost on striking pads and the simplest of Kata's movement's will be forgot.

He also mentions not to worry, and this plateau will soon disappear. I completely agree with Sensei Morris on this one as i have had this happen to me countless numbers of times, but these plateaus always disappear and i DO feel a more better martial artist after them, so if you also get them don't worry, keep training hard!

Since writing this article I seem to have been through at least two plateau effects. I feel that I have recently come out of one now. For a short while, my timing has been off during sparring, I have not felt as if I have been working the heavy bag smoothly enough and I have noticed other areas to be weak. However I feel that I have come through this plateau effect much quicker than normally.

Because of an ankle injury a couple of weeks ago I was forced to take a few days off training, for it to recover and also had to take time off work. With nothing much to do except rest I went through a few old martial arts books which I have not done in a while, thinking about my recent form and how it can be improved and when I was able to move better on my foot I started going through some very light and slow punches, and body movements. Kicking and grappling was out of the question, but now after a few light workouts I am kicking again lightly and hope to start grappling again next week.

What I have noticed through a few shadow boxing and light bag workouts is that my form is back when striking and I can easily work the bag much more smoothly than a few weeks ago.

Maybe this ankle injury was a good thing in the fact that it forced me to take a bit of time off and to start training basically, slowly and with thought about each movement. Next time I go through one of these plateaus I shall remember back to this point in time, how I have been forced to train at a slower and more basic pace and shall work up again slowly, hoping to quickly get through it.

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