FI Learning

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Project plan: organizing a list of karate stuff

I’ve been practicing karate at home and keeping practice notes. I’ve also kept a list of things from my practice that I’ve worked on and want to remember

I want to start a project using this list of things to remember. I want to go through the list and color code it according to how well I’ve learned each thing so far (see the list at the end of the post to get an idea of what I mean by this).

Here’s a partial project plan for this project:

Goal: To put the things on the list into useful categories, in order to help me in evaluating and planning my practice sessions.

Resources: The important resource for this is time. I don’t know how long this project will take. My estimate is it’ll take 1-10 hours. I expect it’ll be worth that time to me.

Proposed steps:
  1. Come up with some categories to start with, keeping in mind the purpose of the categories.
  2. Start going through my list and putting things into categories. If I come to things that I don’t have a good category for, consider making a new category. If I find there’s a category I don’t use, get rid of it.
  3. At the end, think again about whether my current categories will be helpful to my practice and about whether I think I’ve categorized things well. If necessary, go through the list again and make changes.

How might the project fail?:
  • I might quit before I start. I’d still have practiced some project planning.
  • I might find it difficult to categorize some things. I think what I should do for each form is go through it before consulting my list. Then when I read the list for that form, I can probably remember whether I did that thing correctly that time. If I can’t remember, I think I can guess whether I didn’t remember because the new way of doing that thing was already a habit or because I forgot to do it the new way.
  • I might end up with too many categories to keep in mind at once. I think that would be okay. I could consult my list of categories.
  • I might change my mind about what categories to use enough times that I get tired of going through the whole list with the new categories in mind. That might be an indication that the project is too hard for me. If that happens, I could try making simpler, broader categories.

Evaluation: I might forget to or not want to evaluate this project formally after I’ve done it. However, I expect that as I try to use the results of the project (the color-coded list) in the future, I’ll have thoughts about how well this project went. I may find that the categories I ended up with weren’t useful (in that case I could redo the project) or that I hadn’t categorized things well.


Here are the categories I’ve got so far.

  • blue: I know it, won’t forget it even if I don’t think about it or do it for a year, and I almost always do it correctly without thinking about it.
  • green: I know it and do it correctly now, but might forget it if I don’t think about it for a while.
  • purple: I know it if I think about it, will think about it correctly for at least a year, but often don’t do it correctly when I’m not thinking about it.
  • pink: I can’t physically do it.
  • black: none of the above

Most of the things on the list are physical movements. Mostly they are things I can physically do but am studying because I was not doing them correctly or not doing the correct thing at the correct time.

For the Korean terminology on the list, knowing it means I can translate it both English to Korean and Korean to English and can also spell it in Korean using English letters.

Comments & Events

Elliot, Fallible Ideas
You're not listening to my advice and it's ambiguous how purposeful that is.

I suggested smaller projects, achieving many clear successes, and gaining experience with successful projects. You're now planning to do an even bigger, harder project. You're not trying to build up to it as I advised. You aren't going step by step starting with small things.

If you want to take my advice, you could start by doing 50 1-minute projects (the project time does not include project planning and organization time). But before that I think you should write down the steps from a bunch of things, as I suggested, since that's an easier, smaller thing to learn. You did that for one thing and then just stopped doing it without explanation, so you didn't develop that skill.
Anne B
I’m confused by the advice in the comment above. If I respond more to it, I’ll start a separate message thread and edit this comment to link to it. I may just leave it for now.
Anne B
I do have more to say about this karate project.

There are two things here that have levels of difficulty:
  1. The project planning steps. 
  2. The project itself.

1. I now think that trying to use so many of the project planning steps was a bad idea. I don’t understand them well enough. And I don’t see how they’re important. If I want to learn more about them, I should discuss them and practice them one at a time and on simpler projects.

Instead of writing out so many project planning steps, I could have just briefly described what I planned to do for this project and why, and then afterwards done an informal evaluation or written some conclusions.

2. The project itself was more complicated than it needed to be. But I don’t think it was too difficult. I did go ahead and do it and I want to report on it. I’ll do that in the next comment.
Anne B
The purpose of this project was to evaluate my karate practice.

I’ve been practicing karate at home, mostly working on re-training myself to do things the way they are in my karate books rather than the way I was in the habit of doing them. I made a list of these things as I went.

After several months of practice, I realized I wasn’t retaining what I’d learned from my practice very well. I’d work on something for a while and learn it pretty well. Then I’d move on to working on something else and forget some of the stuff I had previously worked on. 

So at some point I switched to making every third day of practice a day to run through what I had learned so far. The “what I had learned so far” started from that point. So I didn’t practice the earlier stuff.

For this project, I wanted to see two things:
  • if I retained the later stuff that I had practiced at least once every three days better than the earlier stuff that I pretty much didn’t practice any more
  • how well I retained the later stuff that I had practiced every three days

I went through the whole list of things that I had written down and color coded it. I did it in small chunks, so it took a few weeks. In retrospect, I should have just used two colors: one for things I was satisfied that I had learned well and one for things that I hadn’t learned well enough.

Out of the stuff I hadn’t kept practicing, I remembered about a third of it well.

Out of the stuff I had kept practicing, I remembered about two thirds of it well.

Thoughts on my karate practice after doing this evaluation project:
  • Things I had worked on a lot came back to me fairly easily, even if I had forgotten them. Things I hadn’t worked on that much sometimes didn’t come back to me when I saw them again.
  • Even moves or sets of moves that I continued to practice every three days weren’t all that great. I wasn’t remembering all the things I wanted to practice about those moves even if I was doing the moves every three days. I need better practice methods.
  • Overall, I learned a lot of things. But I also wasted time learning things and then forgetting those things. I want to try learning more slowly and working on retention more.

Thoughts on this project: I got what I wanted out of it. But I should have skipped the project planning steps.