Guest Writer: How to Get Better at Your Martial Art

Refining your martial arts skills takes dedication, determination, and commitment to long-term practice. Sometimes you need to shake up your training routine with something new and different. You can also learn a thing or two from a marital artist who trains in a different style or art than you. We’re all in this together.

Guest writer Nick Kovach from BJJmotivation.com shares some great tips for stepping up your game. Check out Nick’s site for more martial arts training tips and guides.

If you would like to be a guest contributor for Little Black Belt, please review the guest writer guidelines here.

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When It’s Crunch Time, Be Agile, Be Ready…and Be Still

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February has been so busy we just had to have another day! (Happy Leap Day!)

At one point during this barrel race of a month I remarked to a coworker that I felt like I was back in high school doing last-minute run-throughs for one-act play contest.

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Black Belts: Find Your Inspiration

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A coworker likes to share the phrase, “You’re never too old to learn, and you’re never too young to teach.” Often we look to role models who have already forged the paths we want to travel, but we shouldn’t discount those who may be behind us in achieving a particular goal but whose perseverance and unique aptitude can be a refreshing lesson in never giving up. My last post was a call for black belts to learn from everyone they encounter, no matter what rank they are. My new challenge for my fellow black belts is to find inspiration from others.

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Don’t Be Frustrated. Be Fascinated.

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I am a second degree black belt, but I am not an advanced fighter.

Sparring has never been my forte as a child or as an adult taekwondo practitioner. Sometimes I’ve hated it. Sometimes I’ve looked forward to it. Sometimes I both dread and enjoy it. It has always been a learning experience. I don’t live up to my impossibly high expectations, and of course that sets me up for frustration.

I decided to change my approach to sparring at the dojang I’ve been attending since December of last year.

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Learn or Re-Learn Something New…So I’m Taking Up Classical Guitar Again

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The dress, ring, and guitar live on, but I have graduated from the futon.

“I wouldn’t mind starting over as a white belt in another martial art.”

I’d half blurted, half muttered that comment to a friend I’d trained with at my old taekwondo school. We were talking about other martial arts that interested us. Having dabbled in hapkido self-defense training, I would like more formal training at that. Hapkido or judo–because throwing people on the floor is almost as fun as kicking them.
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A Case for Failing Fast

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A quick internet search of the phrase “fail fast” brings up a mixed bag of business articles, strategy tips, and tech blogs. In April 2018, Forbes magazine published an article titled “How to Fail Fast–and Why You Should,” only to publish “The Foolishness of Fail Fast, Fail Often” five months later. It’s a popular phrase among the lines of being “lean” (i.e., cutting funding) and “agile,” (i.e., pushing through change that might or might not be well-planned).

The corporate buzz speak is strong with this one.

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Little Black Belt is FOUR!

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My blog turns four today! Thank you for reading and commenting on my posts. I’m glad I could reach people all over the world and share my love of the life changing martial art taekwondo. During the past year I went through a major change at work, learned the mystery of  a lingering health problem, and passed my second Dan test. To celebrate my blog’s birthday I’m sharing my favorite posts from the past year. Enjoy!
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Getting a Black Belt vs. Being a Black Belt: Thoughts on Testing for Second Dan

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Tomorrow, after two years of hard work and training, I test for second dan. The obligatory post-test Veuve Cliquot Champagne and cupcakes are chilling in the fridge. The dobok I will wear is clean and folded. For once I don’t feel the twinge of any lingering injuries. I feel prepared and confident in my skills and warmth and joy that my family will be able to witness this next step in my taekwondo journey.

Getting second dan has a more subdued feeling to me than getting first dan did. I can’t explain it right now and probably won’t be able to until I’ve lived in my new rank for a while (that is, if everything goes as planned and my knees don’t decide on sudden mutiny). Maybe it’s because I’ve been distracted by a busy month at work, or maybe I’m just more aware of what I’m in for this time around.
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Leadership Toolbox: the Power of Practice

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[Warning: I was in a really corporate-y mood when I wrote this, so you’re getting a taste of Work Melanie’s voice rather than my usual silly, contemplative, self-deprecating Black Belt voice.]

I’m a learning and leadership development consultant, which in a very tiny abstract nutshell means that I listen, diagnose problems or needs, and help people make decisions and take actions that improve their performance on the job. As a bonus they very often end up happier too, which is my favorite part.
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Finding Fresh Ways to Learn…Or, I Geek Out at a Forms Seminar

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This past weekend I attended a poomsae (forms) referee seminar sponsored by USA Taekonwdo, the national governing body for the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and is a member of the World Taekwondo Federation. I’m not really interested in judging or refereeing at tournaments, but since forms are one of my favorite aspects of practicing taekwondo, I was curious enough to sign up.
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