The training time before and after class is best used when it has the same focus and sense of purpose as the formal class session.
When we are paired off with a training partner before or after class we can best use the time to explore and test interpretations and applications, or to help newer members learn their material.
It is not a time to hang out or talk too much. Rote repetition, as an alternative to chatting, is generally not the best way. To be effective, partner training can be natural and purposeful at once. Emphasizing a specific training objective, moment to moment, (like depth of stance, use of full body, release of tension, focused application of power, precise root, use of the waist, or whatever you select,) will assure that the time is used well and both the senior and newer member go deeper into their training, and increase in skill.
This purposeful, focused training habit is needed to improve in self-defense skill, to enter into flow, and to master the body and mind. The alternative – chatting, hanging out and so on – diffuses the training energy, causing plateau and decline.
Dojo friendships are important. We all enjoy them and benefit from them. But informal time and training time are distinct in manner and purpose.
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