This week we are going to use video as a diagnostic tool. There is often a gap between how your mind imagines your forms and what you're doing in reality. Despite the feedback you may get from others, even instructors, sometimes the only way to really understand the gap between how you perform and how you want to perform is to see it yourself.
Video tape yourself doing your form 3 times and then watch it, paying specific attention to the following things:
1) Precision: Find the moves that are not being executed properly. Specifically, look at the preparation, execution, positioning, and "impact" of each technique. We're especially looking for techniques that "feel" right but clearly look wrong on the video. You will want to take these techniques and give them special attention. You need to ignore that "comfortable" feeling that coincides with the way you typically execute the moves and find the "uncomfortable" feeling coincides with the correct execution. Moving forward, make sure you use that uncomfortable feeling as your guide, aiming to "find" it whenever you execute these techniques until it becomes comfortable and automatic.
2) Consistency: Identify the techniques or series in the form that are different across the three times you did the form. These are going to require special attention. If you cannot perform a series consistently, it is extremely difficult to improve on it. Typically this is due to a lack of understanding of the techniques/series or just the need for more practice. If it is the former, consult a reference such as your instructor, a quality video, or book and make sure you understand the technique. Either way, make sure to spend extra time on these sections in every practice session until that consistency comes.
3) Timing: Ask yourself whether the timing you see in on tape matches the timing you see in your mind. Much like precision, timing changes will have to be extremely (sometimes painfully) deliberate at first and, with practice, will become more automatic.
Repeat the above process 3 times, spread out during the week, working on these three areas, applying your insight from the video each time. If you're up for it, post your videos so you can share your progress.
This week's drill is from Jake Rosenhaft, an instructor from TKA, my home school. Jake is a past forms Grand-champion of the Eastern Regional Karate Championship, but more importantly is a top notch instructor and has an amazing knack of helping others achieve their potential.