How much should I train?
How much should I train? A simple enough question. One I get quite often, especially from newer students. A simple question one would assume warrants a simple answer. If it were only so.
I get it. I’m new, I’m not sure what to do or what’s expected. Give me some direction. The problem is there is no clean answer. Since each student seeks out martial arts for their own personal reason the answer to the question is personal as well. The question is so simple yet so complex at the same time.
I want to say EVERYDAY, twice a day! Afterall, there is no better way to master a craft than to do it everyday. I’ve know this. The 10,000 rule supports it. My time in Thailand training at some of the most successful camps confirmed it. But I know that is simply unrealistic for most.
So what is the answer? That all depends on what the student seeks to get out of the martial arts. What is your goal? Yes, there it is…in all its cliché glory. Yet the cold hard truth is if a student doesn’t have a goal there is no way I can recommend how much or what type of training the person should do.
IF you are an enthusiast, hobbyist, or just a bucket lister then I’d say train as much as you need to keep it fun and fresh. Whatever that looks and feels like, do it. Listen to your body and push as much or as little as you’d like.
IF you are looking for an intangible benefit like self-esteem, confidence, courage, etc, then I’m saying some is good, more is better. Train as much as your other life commitments and your tolerance will allow. The more you can place yourself in an environment that is conducive to bolstering those things the better you will become.
IF the bug bites you and you start to desire serious advancement through the curriculum and levels, then your commitment must be commensurate with the rate at which you expect to progress. Somebody who trains 5 days per week twice per day will naturally progress quicker than a peer who attends 2-3 days per week for an hour each time. Don’t expect a bump in rank anytime soon attending twice per week and never staying for the spar class.
IF you are a first responder who regularly faces the potential to engage another person in a physical altercation, I will say any spare moment you have. Too many in such career fields receive, at best, the most basic training in combative arts; nothing with any regularity to achieve or maintain even the lowest level of proficiency. Your life literally depends on it. Such an amount of training cannot be quantified. It is never enough.
IF you want to dip your toe in the competitive arena…the ring or the mat…then I will revert to my EVERYDAY, twice a day comment. Those who intend to be a competitor cannot afford to train less than every day; multiple times per day if possible, to include strength and conditioning. There is only one thing a competitor can control and that is preparation. Being in impeccable shape, technically sound, and mentally ready are all within control. All of which takes significant time and commitment.
The approach doesn’t stop with martial arts. Any endeavor you choose, the amount of work and effort must be commensurate with the expectations you have for the outcome. What level of depth or expertise do you wish to possess? Are you willing and able to commit to what is needed to get there?
So, to answer the question…how much should I train….my answer is always, what is your goal or what are you training for? Riddle me that and only then can we put a number on it and get down to business.
Everyday Is Training Day – Reap What You Sow