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April 22, 20243 min read

How to Make The Most of Your Martial Arts Class Time

Whether you are a brand-new practitioner or a 10-year veteran, martial arts students are always looking for ways to accelerate and optimize their training. The benefits of joining a self-defense program are great for your physical, mental, and social well-being, but at the same time it is important to understand everyone is on a different path of progress.

Here are some tips to help you maximize your time in class:

Set a goal for each class

There is a mountain of scientific evidence telling us that multitasking is ineffective. Trying to focus on too many things at once is bad for productivity, quality, and efficiency. Instead, one of the best ways to optimize your time is the idea of single-tasking – focusing on one thing at a time, resulting in higher quality results more quickly. 

In the context of class this could present itself in a couple of different ways:

“In sparring today, every time my opponent throws a low kick, I am going to try and check it”

“I’m going to focus on being faster on my redirection during gun defense”

“I will push my cardio today in Strikefit and try to hit harder and faster”

Doing less to do more, while sounding counterintuitive, will help you progress faster!

Get out of your comfort zone, strategically

“A comfort zone is a beautiful place to be, but nothing ever grows there” Gina Milicia

We all know that one person – everything is dialed in when training with them, it’s a beautiful partnership, and in eschewment of the above quote, it IS a place of growth. There is value in knowing someone so well – how they move, how they strike, their strengths, their weaknesses.

The time you put in and the trust you built allows you to push each other and try new things in a predictable and low-risk environment.

However, partnering often with different people will give the opportunity to grow through struggle and pressure and is equally as important. When things aren’t perfect you have to problem-solve, flex your creativity, deal with failure and imperfection.

So, have your favorite partners and continue to build those strong relationships where you can work at your optimal best, but also embrace discomfort and partner with new people, bigger people, faster people – have interactions where you may be at a disadvantage. The mat is the perfect time to try things out with low consequence.

Accept and use feedback

Feedback is a gift, not a punishment. When an instructor takes a moment out of class and managing 20+ people to give you a personalized one-on-one comment, take it as a moment of recognition. 

They are acknowledging the hard work you are putting in and then giving you a piece of the puzzle to fill in the gaps and help accelerate your individual learning.

Go with the flow of class

Class is structured in such a way that there are moments built in to focus on being highly technical and other moments where you can up the energy and just plow into drills with speed and power. Recognize each moment for what they are and utilize that. Following the flow will help you grow.


Michele Harrison

Krav Maga Black Belt

Certified Level 3 Instructor

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