Throughout the 1970s, 1980’s and 1990’s I logged every martial arts training opportunity and workout session, tracking the total number of minutes each month. At some point in the early 2000s, I gave up, probably because I was no longer competing. I also lost all my training logs during a house move, which means I have lost a few decades of training logs.
There are several reasons it’s helpful to track your flight hours, mainly because it’s almost impossible to track personal training hours unless you have a set regime that you also ways follow. This regime will probably be overseen by another (Coach) who is tracking you. Even during my military service, I was never a full-time martial artist and always had a day job, so it was important to track my time involvement and the results. I probably got the idea to add the number of training minutes into my boxing coach’s notebooks as I had to log hours for my coaching certificate.
Since I started training, I have always kept a notebook to record my personal activity, lessons and outcomes. In the 1970’s it was mostly recording boxing, Judo and sword training; in the 1980’s I added Combatives and Muay Thai, closely followed by FMA, Silat and JKD. The 1990s were mainly about Vale Tudo (now MMA). I always kept up the note-taking but abandoned the minute counting.
In May, I set out a plan for my personal training for the rest of the year and resurrected my flight time logging. I realised I wanted to concentrate on the following for my personal training:
KORA Stand Up.
I realised that by learning and studying separate disciplines and upkeeping skills in the others, I would have to better use my available free time.
I currently do the following; I log every training opportunity, including private lessons with my teachers, what we covered and use those notes to update my study notes and teaching plans. I record health exercises such as stretching, fitness and weight training, solo training, and equipment work, including hitting the heavy bag. I record by the minute as some of the exercises only take ten minutes, a good example being my daily hip stretch.
I add up the minutes at the end of each month and record them in an excel sheet. No doubt I could be more detailed and break things down by discipline, but total hours completed works for me. I can always refer back to my notebook to see if I am slaking in my sword training.
At the end of each month, I cross-reference the total hours and then dial down what went well or bad. An excellent example from June was slaking on my solo sword training; my teacher noticed the outcome of this and mentioned it. In July, I added in twenty minutes a day, each day, to practice my basic sword motions. Keeping a daily log triggered me to slot in those twenty minutes of swordplay or double up the next day if I missed a session.
The result is a personal improvement for me and so well worth the ten minutes a day to log flight time.