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nuxie 02-01-2011 10:06 PM

Tracking your training hours
 
Ok so I am starting to notice that in order to test you have to meet a certain amt of time training. Just curious how do you keep track of how often you have trained? Does your dojo have a sign in sheet? do you keep track on your own? I have found a Ipod app called aikido diary and recently started using it. I also keep a notebook detailing where and who and what I have practiced that night.

chillzATL 02-02-2011 06:23 AM

Re: tracking your training hours
 
Quote:

Mary Simonsen wrote: (Post 275392)
Ok so I am starting to notice that in order to test you have to meet a certain amt of time training. Just curious how do you keep track of how often you have trained? Does your dojo have a sign in sheet? do you keep track on your own? I have found a Ipod app called aikido diary and recently started using it. I also keep a notebook detailing where and who and what I have practiced that night.

Mary,

you could ask your instructor to check out www.martialmanagement.com. It does everything you're mentioning and more and is quite useful on both the teachers and students sides. It's been active for several years and has quite a few users. The dev is a martial artist and is always taking suggestions and making improvements. It's also free, so there's really nothing to lose.

Shadowfax 02-02-2011 06:25 AM

Re: tracking your training hours
 
My dojo has a sign in sheet for tracking training time.

lbb 02-02-2011 07:14 AM

Re: tracking your training hours
 
We have a sign-in sheet too. One of the members totals hours at the end of the month and gives it to sensei. If you had hundreds of active members, some kind of automated system might make sense, but for a small dojo a solution like this seems to do fine.

chillzATL 02-02-2011 09:00 AM

Re: tracking your training hours
 
you should both ask your teacher to check out the site. Its benefits are just as easily enjoyed by a small school as a large one.

lbb 02-02-2011 01:33 PM

Re: tracking your training hours
 
Quote:

Jason Casteel wrote: (Post 275413)
you should both ask your teacher to check out the site. Its benefits are just as easily enjoyed by a small school as a large one.

Jason, I don't see how. A signin sheet works fine. If we had an automated system, we'd still have to enter the information manually, so what's the benefit?

Amassus 02-02-2011 01:35 PM

Re: Tracking your training hours
 
We have a roll book, where all the members are listed and are ticked off when you attend class. When the page is turned, the hours are added up from the previous page to keep track. We have worked this way for years.

Just ask your instructor I'm sure he/she has a method if the dojo is a long-standing one.

Yours in training,
Dean.

Keith Larman 02-02-2011 01:46 PM

Re: Tracking your training hours
 
Got thinking I might write one for the android platform. Something quick and dirty.

I know what I would do for myself. On first run I would allow the user to create a database with things like instructor's names and class names (if they wish to use them). A basic app would be to have it start up asking if you want to log in a new session. So when you click "start up" it will ask you to either accept the current time or adjust it accordingly. You select the class name and sensei, filling in if necessary. Screen changes to a timer showing time in. I suppose I could put up a pause timer button at that time along with a button saying end session.

On end you can adjust the timing (4 hours later you realize you forgot to close it out -- oops). Then they have the option to save the session.

Options I would have for myself would be to show total hours. Then allow a report on hours by class title or hours by instructor. I suppose I'd need to allow for all those reports since a selected date.

Anyway, just my ideas. I was thinking of doing it simply as an intellectual exercise. In our dojo all instructors take attendance and there is a running total available of hours/year and hours since last exam.

Any other ideas welcome. Not sure I'm gonna write the app, but I was thinking about it.

nuxie 02-02-2011 09:23 PM

Re: Tracking your training hours
 
Got thinking I might write one for the android platform. Something quick and dirty.

I like the app for the ipod called aikido diary. I think you are onto a good thing cause I have an adroid phone.

The one for the ipod lets you set the date. you can also enter multiple senseis , multiple dojos, and write your own comments.
it also has a techniques button so that you can select the techniques you worked on.

when you open the app it has a monthly list of saved entries. you can see old ones or create a new one. Just select the date, the dojo, the sensei and times.

this app is very similar to what you are describing.
I wish it came with a database about testing requirements or descriptions of techniques etc. Would also be helpful if you could color code the entries so that for instance if you go to one dojo it can be marked purple and a second dojo marked blue. If also you could look at the entries in calendar view and put in upcoming events like seminars.

ninjaqutie 02-02-2011 10:13 PM

Re: Tracking your training hours
 
We have a roster at the dojo that we use. It is up to you to tally yours hours up at the end of the month and carry over those hours to the following months roster.

I also keep track on my own. I would get one of those free calendars from Hallmark and write down my hours. I haven't gotten one yet this year, so I am just writing on the back of last years.

I would love a good android app that would let me keep track of my hours. I would be all over that (more so if it were free). I might pay if there were enough neat little things to make it worth while.

chillzATL 02-03-2011 02:41 PM

Re: Tracking your training hours
 
Quote:

Keith Larman wrote: (Post 275450)
Got thinking I might write one for the android platform. Something quick and dirty.

I know what I would do for myself. On first run I would allow the user to create a database with things like instructor's names and class names (if they wish to use them). A basic app would be to have it start up asking if you want to log in a new session. So when you click "start up" it will ask you to either accept the current time or adjust it accordingly. You select the class name and sensei, filling in if necessary. Screen changes to a timer showing time in. I suppose I could put up a pause timer button at that time along with a button saying end session.

On end you can adjust the timing (4 hours later you realize you forgot to close it out -- oops). Then they have the option to save the session.

Options I would have for myself would be to show total hours. Then allow a report on hours by class title or hours by instructor. I suppose I'd need to allow for all those reports since a selected date.

Anyway, just my ideas. I was thinking of doing it simply as an intellectual exercise. In our dojo all instructors take attendance and there is a running total available of hours/year and hours since last exam.

Any other ideas welcome. Not sure I'm gonna write the app, but I was thinking about it.

a site like martialmanagement.com, with a mobile page (which is in development I believe) does all that and is platform (android, ios, win7p, blackberry) independent.

chillzATL 02-03-2011 02:52 PM

Re: tracking your training hours
 
Quote:

Mary Malmros wrote: (Post 275445)
Jason, I don't see how. A signin sheet works fine. If we had an automated system, we'd still have to enter the information manually, so what's the benefit?

Mary,

If you have a sign in sheet and someone is making a real effort to track time, they are taking that sign in sheet and entering it somehwere else. Either a self-made spreadsheet or something along those lines. Well, they could just be keeping a book of individual sheets that they will, at some time, go through to calculate total hours, but that is just insane. So if someone is having to take the sign in sheet and enter it again into something, why not make that something a website that is:

1. accessible by both teachers and students, so students can check their own hours, review a previous class lesson (what was it we worked on the other night), etc.

2. calculates hours for you

3. allows you to present other information to dojo members (organizational forms, testing requirements, handbook, whatever).

4. calendar of dojo events

5. contact a teacher, make a class request, etc

6. sign up for special classes so that a teacher knows who plans to attend

information technology has fairly well proven that it's better than paper for most anything that you want to keep track of.

Michael Hackett 02-03-2011 03:22 PM

Re: Tracking your training hours
 
A local karate school here uses a unique time card system. Each student has his own time card in a slot on the wall and each time card is color-keyed to his rank. Before each class the student pulls his own card and presents it to the teacher at the start of class. At the end of class the teacher has them dated stamped with the class date. I don't think the teacher actually does the stamping, but the office person. When the student has the appropriate number of classes, he is invited to test at the next testing process.

Keith Larman 02-03-2011 04:40 PM

Re: tracking your training hours
 
Quote:

Jason Casteel wrote: (Post 275404)
Mary,

you could ask your instructor to check out www.martialmanagement.com. It does everything you're mentioning and more and is quite useful on both the teachers and students sides. It's been active for several years and has quite a few users. The dev is a martial artist and is always taking suggestions and making improvements. It's also free, so there's really nothing to lose.

Um, the point for me wasn't to adopt a system for the dojo. I had thought about doing it for an individual who wants to track their own hours when a dojo doesn't use something like that.

lbb 02-03-2011 07:58 PM

Re: tracking your training hours
 
Quote:

Jason Casteel wrote: (Post 275556)
Mary,

If you have a sign in sheet and someone is making a real effort to track time, they are taking that sign in sheet and entering it somehwere else. Either a self-made spreadsheet or something along those lines. Well, they could just be keeping a book of individual sheets that they will, at some time, go through to calculate total hours, but that is just insane. So if someone is having to take the sign in sheet and enter it again into something, why not make that something a website that is:

1. accessible by both teachers and students, so students can check their own hours, review a previous class lesson (what was it we worked on the other night), etc.

Because it isn't. Not everyone in our dojo uses the web or wants to -- and this isn't about to change, since we are located in a rural area where many people are limited to dialup access.

Quote:

Jason Casteel wrote: (Post 275556)
2. calculates hours for you

That's simple enough for any spreadsheet once you've gone to the work of entering the data, and if students aren't entering it themselves, you still have to do this.

Quote:

Jason Casteel wrote: (Post 275556)
3. allows you to present other information to dojo members (organizational forms, testing requirements, handbook, whatever).

Website and hardcopy do this for us -- website for them as are wired, hardcopy for them as aren't.

Quote:

Jason Casteel wrote: (Post 275556)
4. calendar of dojo events

Website and bulletin board in dojo.

Quote:

Jason Casteel wrote: (Post 275556)
5. contact a teacher, make a class request, etc

The way to contact our teachers and make any request is to come to class. :D

Quote:

Jason Casteel wrote: (Post 275556)
6. sign up for special classes so that a teacher knows who plans to attend

I don't think our teachers really care about that. They'll teach to one, they'll teach to fifty.

Quote:

Jason Casteel wrote: (Post 275556)
information technology has fairly well proven that it's better than paper for most anything that you want to keep track of.

I don't agree with this as a blanket statement (and btw, I've worked in technology for my whole career). Automating a simple task is not necessarily a gain. If a dojo had no existing systems to do the tasks you describe above, and/or they had so many students and so many things going on that doing all that manually was practically impossible, and the students had access to automation and would use it, then there's an advantage. But checking off attendance, no, I don't think a web app is the best way to do this. In our dojo, the attendance book is by the door. People check their names off as they're entering or leaving, whatever their habit is. If they had to wait until they got home to then go online and access a website and enter it, a lot of hours would go unrecorded.

Lan Powers 02-03-2011 10:16 PM

Re: Tracking your training hours
 
we have a sign in sheet / attendance roll in class, but I and others keep a training log for myself....
keep a running total as you go.
You COULD do it in a program, but I like to write things out to consider what I learned and want to fix in my mind.
To each his own...

ninjaqutie 02-03-2011 10:55 PM

Re: Tracking your training hours
 
Although I am a tech savvy person, some things I prefer to have on pen and paper. I see nothing wrong with this method. I do have a question for Jason though.... why are you pushing this online thing you use so hard? Just curious.... :D (Mary, that smiley was for you... hehe)

Dave de Vos 02-04-2011 04:02 AM

Re: Tracking your training hours
 
I'm sure my teachers have a good notion of each student's attendance, but I'm not aware of training hours tracking in my dojo. I've read that we have minimum requirements for testing, but I think my teachers consider level of skill much more important than meeting a training hours requirement.

I've read that the training hours requirement in my dojo is 30 hours for 6 kyu. I started aikido in august 2010 and I have about 100 training hours in the dojo. I haven't been tested yet.

I've also read which techniques will be tested for 6 kyu in my dojo, and I know I would not be able to execute all of them correctly if I would be tested now, even though my fellow aikidoka tell me I learn quickly. So I am in no hurry to be tested.

Classes in my dojo don't focus on teaching each student the techniques for his/her next test. All students from no kyu to 4 dan train the same techniques at the same time (to their ability). Sometimes when a test date is announced for a student, the whole class gets to train techniques specific for that test.

I like this way of training very much. I don't mind that some of the techniques for the 6 kyu test are rarely trained in that specific form. When my teachers think I am ready for testing, I will be tested. We'll probably spend more time on 6 kyu techniques when it comes. (Perhaps it is coming, because I get the impression we are spending more time on static forms of some techniques lately)

Given that most of the time students don't specifically train for their next test requirements, I think the training hours requirements in my dojo are quite low. A student rarely meets skill requirements for a test ahead of the training hours requirement, so it wouldn't make a difference even if training hours were accurately tracked.

Lyle Laizure 02-04-2011 07:03 AM

Re: tracking your training hours
 
1. accessible by both teachers and students, so students can check their own hours, review a previous class lesson (what was it we worked on the other night), etc.

Is it really necessary? If a student wants to know his/her hours it is simple to look up. If they are that interested in how many hours they have they should track them on their own. I do this and encourage my students to do the same.

2. calculates hours for you

When I tally the hours at the end of the month I enter them into the appropriate column in an excel spreadsheet. The spreadsheet calculates them for me.

3. allows you to present other information to dojo members (organizational forms, testing requirements, handbook, whatever).

I have a website and most of the information you mention here is on that website. I give each student a handbook upon their signup. It is their responsiblity to keep it safe and use it as a reference. I still have students ask questions that are in their handbook and I will at times refer them to their handbook, I can't remember everything. I don't know what organization forms a student would need, except upon sign up and those again are on the website.

4. calendar of dojo events

Again, on the website and in the monthly newsletter I send out.

5. contact a teacher, make a class request, etc

This is what my e-mail and telephone is for and they can always ask during class.

6. sign up for special classes so that a teacher knows who plans to attend.

I can see where knowing who will be there for a special class is important or for an event or demonstration but a sign-up sheet in class would IMO be better because if they can't make it to regular class to sign up the odds that they will make it to another event isn't that great. And if it is a demonstration, shouldn't they be in class regular if they want to participate in a demonstration.

information technology has fairly well proven that it's better than paper for most anything that you want to keep track of.

LOL really? I don't know about that. I think technology has made us lazy and stupid. This may not always be the case but how many people can use a card catalouge to find a book in the library now? Better, I don't know.

chillzATL 02-04-2011 07:38 AM

Re: Tracking your training hours
 
Quote:

Ashley Carter wrote: (Post 275575)
Although I am a tech savvy person, some things I prefer to have on pen and paper. I see nothing wrong with this method. I do have a question for Jason though.... why are you pushing this online thing you use so hard? Just curious.... :D (Mary, that smiley was for you... hehe)

It's nothing sinister Ashley, it's a useful, free site developed by a martial artist (and instructor) who also happens to be a top notch developer and a friend of mine. I see the value in what the site does. It's easy to use, offers a wealth of potential information to students (and instructors) and beyond a few hours of setup requires no more effort than is involved if someone is already taking the time to track attendance, hours, schedule, etc on paper. If people are happy doing things all on paper, that's fine. I just find it contrary to everything that's happened in the world in the last 15 years or so, but ymmv.

Keith Larman 02-04-2011 08:06 AM

Re: Tracking your training hours
 
Jason:

No doubt it is cool and it is great that he has put it out there. It is one way of dealing with a record keeping task that isn't really that complicated. At our location we have classes daily with multiple instructors. Lots of students. Those instructors vary from technologically wired up the wazoo to a few where getting them to use a cell phone is difficult let alone e-mail. The dojo as a group is 40 years old and we simply have a grid that is printed out with all the active students monthly, new students written in on the bottom. Instructors note who came in to class on a page in a book. One page per day. They note the hours on a the separate grid. At the end of the month one fella in the dojo (an accountant actually) tabs them in excel (or whatever, I don't know), updates the grid with new students, then prints the next month sheet.

The point here is that the "training" for those entering information (all the instructors, assistants, etc.) is simply this. Write down their names (good to help you learn to remember them, especially with new students) then jot down the number of hours. Done. No start up the computer, log in, etc. Just write it down and you're done.

Someone does tabulate at the end of the month for record keeping, hours for testing, etc. But... The guy who does it says it takes him a grand total of 15 minutes or so.

So no computer in the dojo. No internet connection. Just paper and pencils.

All that said, I'm as much a geek as the next guy. Love the toys. And as I said, I am considering writing myself an app for no reason whatsoever other than to do it. I have no more tests to take; no reason to track my hours other than "is he putting in enough training himself". Just out of pure nerdishness.

But again... Love the guy's site. Very nice. If I were starting a dojo today myself I'd probably use it and send the guy a donation.

chris wright 02-04-2011 08:54 AM

Re: Tracking your training hours
 
Hi Mary, i've found keeping a training diary, very useful, you can keep a running tally of your training hours - and also what you've covered in class, the mistakes and corrections - great revision material before grade exams!
Also very low tech, just a notepad and pen - no internet connection, apps, waps or whatever there called (..i'm sounding very old fashioned...lol)
Best wishes

Pauliina Lievonen 02-04-2011 08:59 AM

Re: Tracking your training hours
 
Our dojo doesn't track attendance since we don't tie testing to time in grade.

For myself I have a wall calendar (that came free with a newspaper I think) where I mark classes that I've attended with an A. Just so I can't lie to myself about how often I train. I track some other stuff that I want to keep track of the same way.

BTW about electronic versus paper - I always have to laugh a bit making appointments with people, by the time they've found the right day in their electronic agendas or smartphones, I'm already done with my old fashioned paper agenda. Which I can also safely drop or sit on without losing all the information in it.

Obviously this comment is written on a computer though. :-) So it just depends on what tool you prefer to use for different purposes.

kvaak
Pauliina

lbb 02-04-2011 09:31 AM

Re: Tracking your training hours
 
Quote:

Jason Casteel wrote: (Post 275589)
It's nothing sinister Ashley, it's a useful, free site developed by a martial artist (and instructor) who also happens to be a top notch developer and a friend of mine. I see the value in what the site does. It's easy to use, offers a wealth of potential information to students (and instructors) and beyond a few hours of setup requires no more effort than is involved if someone is already taking the time to track attendance, hours, schedule, etc on paper. If people are happy doing things all on paper, that's fine. I just find it contrary to everything that's happened in the world in the last 15 years or so, but ymmv.

Well, we do spend a fair amount of our time in pursuits that could honestly be termed as archaic, so I'm not sure that using the latest technology to aid is is necessary or even desirable. I'm not trying to shoot down what you're doing -- really. But years ago, I had a boss who would patiently listen to us software engineers babble on about the projects that we wanted to do, smiling and nodding, and when he could get a word in edgewise he'd ask, "What is the problem you're trying to solve?" He annoyed the hell out of us at the time, but he was right: you can't go creating solutions unless you know what the problem is.

Automation is a tool. Whether it's the right tool depends on what you're trying to do, just as when you're trying to choose between a hammer or a saw: are you trying to drive a nail, cut a board, or do something completely different? Here in this thread we can see at least three different problems being solved: your app seeks to manage a dojo, other apps would serve as a personal tracker of training hours, still other apps would include additional "workout log" functionality. I can see your app being useful as a back office record-keeper, although I think that in a dojo that already has solutions in place for everything that your app does (or at least, everything that the dojo needs to do), you're going to have an uphill battle getting people to adopt a new way of doing things -- and as someone who's spent a lot of time in the software trenches, it's not really accurate to just put this down to luddism and fear of technology. It's "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" -- or don't spend time replacing it with something that may not work as well.

So, to change over to something new, there has to be an upside, no downside, and not too much pain. Unfortunately, I don't see how you get over the problem of access. How does the information get input? Who has access to it? We can't assume access to the web or to a smartphone, or to any other convenient means of logging your own training hours at the time that you're training. I just don't see any way over that speedbump.

Keith Larman 02-04-2011 10:18 AM

Re: Tracking your training hours
 
What problem are you trying to solve? Ha, I used to say that all the time to enthusiastic computer geeks... I was one of them, once. Age mellowed me a lot.

I was often reminded of a small child who first picks up a screwdriver. They spend the rest of their time trying to find ways of using the shiny new toy. Sometimes including sticking it into an electrical socket... "gotta use it, gotta use it, gotta use it"

:D


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