New year goals

Well here we are starting another new year. Some people will have made some resolutions for the new year, others will not.

As I was saying to some people towards the end of last year, we have reached the time of the year when it can be good to look ahead and set some goals, both within karate and outside.

As far as karate goals go, most people will have set a goal of advancing in grade by the end of this year. (I just have a goal of getting used to writing 2005 on everything.)

But your karate goals don't have to be grade oriented - you could instead maybe set a goal of learning a particular kata, getting right a technique you have had trouble with, or to improve at sparring. But any goal has to be definable and also you need to be able to determine whether you have achieved it by the time you wanted.

For example a simple goal of improving your sparring is ok, but how will you be able to tell when you have reached it? There will always probably be someone who is better, faster or stronger than you. What you may need to do then is set a goal of improving your sparring by working on throwing a counter-strike every time you block until it becomes automatic, or working on always using attack-defence or defence-attack combinations instead of single punches or kicks. It doesn't have to be anything fancy, just building up your repertoire of sparring techniques so that if your first punch is blocked you are not left with nothing because you always have something to follow up with. Use the opportunity when sparring at a slow pace to work on this sort of stuff, then try to apply it when sparring normally.

If you are unsure how to go about working on your sparring, I'm sure any instructor would be only too happy to give you some advice or a few ideas to get you started.

- Mick Todd