ONLY THE CURIOUS WILL GROW AND THE DETERMINED OVERCOME THE OBSTACLES TO LEARNING
Who didn’t dream of performing martial arts movements just like Bruce Lee? His movements seemed like second nature, effortless, beautiful but deadly.
One of the keystones is…repetition.
Movement is a way to change the size and shape of muscles, which can change how tendons, ligaments, and bones interact in movements.
Repetition of movements is the best way to create a blueprint of martial arts movements you’re learning, which is then stored in your brain. This builds a bridge between thinking and doing – so you no longer need to think about the movement.
Neuroscientists call this muscle memory. Some say when athletes stop training, they lose muscle mass, however, when they start to train again, the “muscle memory” kicks again and they regain muscle even faster than the first time. Any movement of the body relies on the brain, and repeating an exercise enough times triggers patterns in the brain regions responsible for your motor skills.
Some researchers believe it takes between 400 and 30,000 repetitions of an activity to create a new synapse in the brain and to become second nature.
Your muscles can’t actually remember information. Muscles, which are controlled by your brain, contain neurons that are attached to the nervous system: these are connected to motor learning.
(Motor learning is generally defined as a set of processes aimed at learning and refining new skills by practicing them).
They say it’s better to practice daily in shorter sessions, rather than in one long session. Make sure you’ve mastered the technique first – the last thing you want is to be obliged to correct a mistake to your muscle memory, which will require a loss of time to correct and re-learn.
My experience is that the longer you can stay focused, the longer you can train in one session to learn new skills. If your concentration is quicker lost, then the effective learning duration in one session will be shorter. Without concentration during learning and improving new skills, the easier to create bad habits and wrong movements.
During my martial arts career, I learned that concentration and an eye for details are of utmost importance if you want to excel.
The rule of 10,000 hours of practice has been popularised by Malcom Gladwell in his bestseller “Outliers: The Story of Success”.
This means spending time to give your full attention to learning and development, without getting distracted by other things.
When a movement is repeated over time, the brain creates a long-term muscle memory for that task, eventually allowing it to be performed with little to no conscious effort.
Muscle memory may last up to 15 years, or possibly forever.
- When you learn a new movement, start slow. Do not rush.
- Muscle memory is difficult to reverse, so practice correctly from the beginning.
- Practicing things incorrectly may result in you repeating the same mistakes over and over again. This will be a waste of your time and effort.
- Practice with a teacher who has a sufficient high level and can give you corrections.
- Don’t try to correct all details in one time, focus on one point at a time.
- When training alone, use a mirror and observe your body gestures and angles.
- Break difficult movements into small parts and take each part slowly until you are able to do it very well.
- Repeat first slowly the movements, verifying every joint, muscle status, sense of stability and the feeling you have when executing.
- Every movement is important: put passion into every movement. train with your mind and body. It’s not only a mechanic matter.
- Always be sure to take your time and master each step before moving on to the next: move slow to evolve fast.
- Of utmost importance: be patient with your learning process. Progress is individual. It is not competition against someone else.
Mastering martial arts takes time and practice. You will not become a Master overnight, but that shouldn’t stop you from putting in the hard work and dedication to improve your skills.
One of the most important things to remember when practicing is to stay motivated and focused. This means setting realistic goals for yourself and staying committed to your routine.
Stay hungry and cherish your personal training moments, as one day you will look back and be proud to be a dedicated martial artist.