Listen and Learn: Improving my TKD patterns

Aside from the physical benefits of TKD, my classes have given me a lot of information about how I learn. I know, for instance, that I need to see the big picture before I focus on the details (I believe that’s called global learning?), I need to absorb a certain amount of information and then take it away to apply it on my own, I know that I need to focus on certain aspects of the movement and not others, *and I have learned which instructors to ask for which kind of information.

All of this comes in handy at TKD and in other contexts and now I am interested in how to apply my latest discovery, which came via the Zoom version of my TKD classes.

Some background

When we are practicing patterns, we learn them a little bit at a time (instructor gives each person specific attention to each part of the movement), then we practice them step by step (instructor gives the class step by step cues and says ‘go’ after each instruction, we stop after we have completed the specific movement and await further instruction) and as a group (instructor only gives us the cue to start and we do the movements in rhythm with the rest of the students.)

I do pretty well in class but when I get home, I often have trouble practicing effectively because in order to correct myself I have stop and read instructions out of a book. That means looking down through the list of movements** and finding the one I just did, identifying the next one, and figuring out how to get all the bits just right. If I make a mistake, I have to consult the book again. Also, I can’t hold the book while I practice so each time I need to look at it, I need to move out of the position I am in, look at the book, then get myself back to where I was to start again.

That’s not a HUGE challenge, I realize that but it is annoying, and for someone who has trouble choosing where to focus her attention, it can be enough of an obstacle to make me reluctant to practice as effectively as I would like.

Yay for Zoom Class

So, lately we’ve been doing classes on Zoom. My instructors do some demonstrations and then we practice step-by-step before doing the patterns as a group.

I have been finding the Zoom step-by-step particularly effective and I quickly realized why.

I am alone in my space (no distracting movements from other people that might make me second-guess myself)

I am wearing earphones (my instructor’s voice is right in my ear and I am closely focused on it)

I am facing away from the screen most of the time during the pattern (again, no distractions)

So, I quickly figured out a way to make good use of this opportunity.

With everyone’s permission, I recorded the audio from our most recent class and I am going to edit the recording down to just the step-by-step instructions and listen to them when I practice on my own.

This is going to be so good for my technique – a cue, with details, time to do the movement, another detailed cue, time to do the movement…all the way through each pattern. I won’t have to stop and consult the book, it won’t feel interrupt-y, it will just be practice that I can sink right into.

I’m interested to see how this helps me improve.

AND I am interested to know what other things I am trying to learn that could benefit from audio cues.

*For example, when I do a flying side kick, if I focus on the kick itself, I get tangled but if I focus on how to move my hip, the rest of it just comes together on its own.
**Yes, there are people who know the patterns so well that they know what movement 10 of pattern 5 is but I am not one of them.