Thoughts on training diary.

When I started training, I managed for quite some time (read months) to write down almost every technique we did during class. Although I felt that this helped me review and remember some techniques, it soon started to feel exhausting and almost mechanical. Some techniques that were written down did not even translate to my mind if I reviewed them later on, so I began doubting my way of keeping track of my training.

My idea of what a training diary can and should be has since then changed, and with this post I am planning to re-introducing this aspect of training once again to my regime. Here are some my thoughts about how you should go about when tracking your training through a personal log:

Do not write down everything

This was what I did which led me to feel like a typing robot. Try to be mindful and picky with what you are taking time to write down. You do not need to write down every step of a technique that you already have some grasp of. Focus on writing down key details instead.

Write proper

It is easy to get lazy and rely on your future self to understand what “jump like a squirrel then turn 180 to pass the guard” means, but truth is he probably wont. Instead take your time and really try to formulate your sentences so that even an outside person would have a chance of understanding. Also, I find it much more pleasant to go back and review notes when they are neat and tidy written.

Beyond technique

Your notebook should contain more than just description of techniques, it should also include reviews of your mental states during training sessions. In my opinion, this is the most important and beneficial aspect of tracking your training through notes, and really helps your mental discipline while training. Basic questions like “what did I do right and what did I do good?” prevent you from having an autopilot approach to your grappling.

Weekly review

Take some time once a week to quickly revisit the notes of the past week. Put some extra focus on the mental notes and extract of them things that you could improve upon. Write these things down on a separate note that you will keep close by before every upcoming training of the next week to give you a quick reminder of what you need to work on. Here you could also write down techniques that you want to develop, to remind yourself to actually go for them while sparring.