REMEMBER, this is for you so don’t cheat yourself! Always push to give 100% during training and practice. This may seem like generic advice, but understand when folks become involved with structured programs, of any kind, they tend to become creatures of habit and may do just enough to get by or complete a task. That’s not how it works in martial arts. You have to go beyond just getting by and beyond getting something good enough. Techniques are learned and then tweaked and refined over years and years of practice. Remember you’re not doing this to pass a test or to get a belt; you’re doing this to learn the art… period!

Practice at home and attend class as often as possible. The skills learned in any martial arts system need lots of attention and therefore you need to put aside a lot of practice time. Supplement every hour of class time with at least one or more hours of practice on your own. Honestly, for serious practitioners, one hour of class equals 4 or more hours of extra practice outside of class. DO NOT rely on classes alone. The classes are guides much like this booklet. A skill is taught and you must practice it.

Don’t feel silly or stupid carrying out the etiquette and customs recognized by the system. You may feel odd at first saying yes sir or no ma’am to another person, unless of course you come from a military background. It may seem goofy to bow to another individual, a room, or to a group of people you don’t know yet, but keep in mind that the etiquette and customs are followed for the purpose of fostering a respectful learning environment for everyone. Without this expected behavior, it would be next to impossible to run large classes where each person can hear instruction or see how to do something. Do not mistake respect for submissiveness. When you bow to another person, you are not pledging your obedience; you are acknowledging a respect for that individual. That’s it.

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