Both on the job and in martial arts it’s good if you can step back and occassionally take a break. It’s a good way to recharge yourself and approach the routine with a fresh and energized perspective.
This past weekend I did exactly that by skipping my Friday through Sunday workouts. Last night I fought with myself on my drive home to go into the back yard and continue the burpee crazy train. Well after completing 50 (not continuous, thank you!) I felt recharged enough to go through my taekwondo forms and my Korean short stick form. Usually when I do forms now I tend to use them for moving meditation and exercise. They’re also a good way to keep the muscle memory of certain techniques from degrading. Yet I still consider them secondary to live sparring or even bag work.
Regardless of my bias, over the weekend I noticed an article at Ikigai that talks about kata application. So last night I purposely went through my forms and forced myself to envisions their combat applications. I did not focus on multiple opponents as the article suggests. However, I did focus on a singular opponent and actual combat applications of the forms. The end result was that it took much longer to complete a total of 10 forms and this is due to activating (or re-activating) the muscle that’s between my ears.
Two themes: I found myself thinking either “this would work” or “this is total bunk”. Some of the techniques that I see within these forms would work and are worth repeating. Yet others are so choreographed that you’d have to be in the perfect set of circumstances to even have the chance to realistically pull off what you are practicing.
If you are at the point in your forms or kata where you can roll through them without thought then I’d highly encourage you to give Matthew’s idea a try. It’s a way to freshen up stale forms and it also forces you to think about the dance that you are doing!