The other day, I was searching through the files stored on my laptop and came across a training video that was recorded some four years ago. This was before I became a black belt. I had forgotten that this recording existed and so sat by the computer table with curiosity to watch it. I wanted to see just how much time had made a difference to training.

The video recording captured me performing all of the hyungs (forms/katas) belonging to the pre-black belt syllabus of the Soo Bahk Do martial art. Ironically, earlier that week I had been practising one of these hyungs in preparation for my visit to Norfolk, where I was going to co-instruct over a weekend. In fact, I had even recorded myself doing the hyung I was going to teach!

Watching the older recording really brought home the ways that I have advanced as a practitioner without even realising it. Comparing the newer clip to the older one, the moves definitely have a stronger commitment and crispness to them. More importantly, the performance seemed to flow a lot smoother.

Here’s the comparison clip:


Over the years, I wouldn’t say that I’ve frequently practised this hyung. However, what I always do cover are the basics in every training session. The basic moves are the foundation to all techniques. A strong foundation is important to build all other techniques upon. As a result, your hyungs naturally improve as your competency in the basics does in time.

What’s interesting is that for most of the time, it can be really hard to see yourself improving overall. Sure, you may learn a new technique or be promoted to the next rank – but it’s not always easy to think about and compare your past performance to your current one.

That’s how I feel anyway.

There’s been many times over the years where I’ve felt that I’ve hit a plateau in my training. For some reason, no matter what I did, I just didn’t feel like I was progressing. It has been frustrating at times to say the least. However, watching this comparison video speaks volumes that this was an illusion that I’ve been telling myself. The reality was that I was in fact improving my performance – it was just small steps each time so I didn’t notice. So, if you’ve been training for a while and feel that your skills aren’t really progressing, it’s likely that they actually are too! Time does make a difference to your training.

Why not record yourself doing a hyung or technique? Then, make a note to record yourself doing the same thing again in six months or a year’s time. Once you have the two versions, watch them both to see if there has been any changes to your performance. When you do this, feel free to get in touch and let me know what you find!

Before you go, I’d be interested to hear what you thought about the comparison clip. Did you notice any main differences or similarities between the two? Let me know!

Sabrina Mistry

As a qualified Personal Trainer and 2nd Dan traditional martial artist, Sabrina combines both to deliver workout programmes, martial arts instruction and fitness classes that are designed with the longer-term health of the body in mind. Get connected on Instagram and Facebook: @beyondthedojang

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