Perhaps paradoxically, much of the martial arts is learned at home. Class is a (much) needed chance for the instructor to fix your mistakes, offer insights into your movement, and show you new lessons to consider and learn- followed by drilling, practicing, and working out at home outside of class hours and lessons.
But just what should we be working on at home?
As a student myself, I'd like to share my own training routine...
The bulk of my own practice is on the kihon- the "basics" of our martial arts. Every martial art has it's version of the kihon, which we translate as basic, but would be better understood as "foundation". The stuff you need to know so you have the body mechanics to study and use the more advanced lessons of your art. Having a strong kihon also means you are freed from thinking about how to move your body, so you can just go with the flow, and receive the feeling of a technique (waza) from your teacher, which is where the real transmission and understanding of the art is.
My kihon practice is ukemi gata, kihon happo, san shin no kata, kamae, and the "stuff" that is in the ten ryaku no maki along with a few application drills on how to practice it from my teacher and seniors.
That is the base of my solo practice.
From there I build on lessons that I was just shown in class. Is there anything I was told to work on? What was reviewed and how can I practice it at home during the week so I am ready for the next class. Often classes build on skill sets over time, so following along, and working to improve them helps with next weeks lesson.
Building on that, I train on what I have specifically been told to work on by my teacher. What I should be working on appropriate for my level and understanding in the martial arts. Sometimes this is the same lesson for a few months, other times it changes up, a few times it was the same movement(s) for years until I was told otherwise.
The last part of my daily training is "free time".
What I feel like working on in the moment, something for fun that I don't have to worry about getting right or wrong, or if I am ready for it or not. Maybe some kenjutsu, maybe some kata, maybe some rope work. I try to allow my body just to move and explore, free from my critical mind, and notions of what I am able to physically do or not.
This is the BULK of my training, but it is still open to opportunities that take place in the moment as they happen in nature. Just last week, on a Sunday afternoon it was a PERFECT day out for the summer. Not hot, low humidity, some sun ,but mostly clouds.
A perfect day for hiking in the woods.
Grabbed my jo staff and went for a hike, practicing jojutsu along the trails.
Plan for the day in day out training grind, but be ready to take anything that happens in the moment!
Lots of changes, no surprises!