How Students Can Train Smarter

(revised from an article By Mary Alexander)

Over-training and improper training are the two biggest causes of injury in students preparing to compete or grade for their next belt. A hard workout is good, but more is not always better. The end result of over-training is students who are disappointed because they are unable to give 100% of themselves during their performance. In order for students to stay motivated, it is important to know how to train smarter, not just harder.

#1 Training should be progressive. By slowly and steadily increasing the frequency, duration and intensity of training, your body will be able to properly adapt to the increased demands place on it.

#2 Your body needs rest. Working out seven days a week, three hours a day is a recipe for disaster. Over-training leads to burnout, injury and a general weakening of your immune system.

#3 Injury is your bodyís way of saying "back off." Thereís an old joke where a guy goes to his doctor and says, "Doctor, it hurts every time I do this," and the doctor replies, "Then donít do that." As silly as this joke may be, a permanent injury will do far more damage to the outcome of your training than taking some time off to recuperate.

#4 If you are working out harder than usual, you need to refuel more often. Carbohydrates are your energy food. Athletes should strive to eat a diet consisting of 60%-70% of carbohydrates. You cannot expect to go the "extra mile" simply by stocking up on carbohydrates the night before a tournament or grading test. Proper nutrition must be a central component of your training.

#5 Heat exhaustion occurs when a person overdoes it and overheats. Drink plenty of water: 8-10 glasses a day and more if you sweat a lot. Fluids are essential in transporting nutrients to and from working muscles and are needed to dissipate heat from the body. Water is generally sufficient, though recent studies have shown some increased endurance with sports drinks. However, keep in mind the amount of sugar in the sports drink, which may cause cramping.

#6 As your grading test or tournament date nears, back off of your training. A comparable athlete, the marathon runner, usually cuts back 50% during the last two weeks before a race. You will not lose your stride and this will give your body a chance to recover and refuel for peak performance.


Sparring requires a lot of self-control

Developing and exercising self-control helps bring a balance to our lives that enables us to live the other qualities more fully and completely. Without self-control we lack the ability to be patient with others and ourselves. Self-control gives us the ability to put the ego in the correct perspective so that we bring no harm to others or ourselves. When we are able to do this we recognize the true value of the ego as the vehicle of our expression rather than a tyrant that has to have its way. The ego that insists on having its own way is a destructive ego and can lead to destructive habits. Learning self-control is a key to gaining mastery over our lives.