In so many ways keeping to the ‘Routine’ is more important than the content of any training.

I was recently on the phone with a prospective new student and he asked me…

… ‘How often should I train, and how long will it take me to become proficient”?

Wow, what a question.

The reality is that if we want to make any kind of meaningful progress we should train every day.

However this is not what most people wish to hear, so I made up a number that I hoped pleased him, twice a week for two years.

In my experience, the type of people that ask this question never stick it out, even for just two years.

I have not heard back from him.

The reason that we should train every day is often misunderstood, it has nothing to do with the complexity or difficulty of the subject matter, and everything about how our brain handles and stores information.

Be it Kung Fu, mathematics or learning a new language they all suffer the same.

When I was in management, I became aware of a thing called the Ebbinghaus’ forgetting curve, or simply ‘the forgetting curve’ which details how information is lost over time when you don’t try to retain it.

Trying to retain it is not just hoping you remember.

This blog is not the place to go deep into this kind of stuff so I am just going to paste a piece from an old article that I advise you to cross-reference.

Research on the forgetting curve (Figure 1) shows that within one hour, people will have forgotten an average of 50 per cent of the information you presented. Within 24 hours, they have forgotten an average of 70 per cent of new information, and within a week, forgetting claims an average of 90 per cent of it. All of your hard work simply drains away.

Figure 1: The forgetting curve

Snippet from ‘Learning Solutions’

After one week we only retain 10%!

Training every day does not mean supervised training, although that would be ideal, but, to be effective it does need to be structured, it needs to become routine.

This concept of making training a fixed routine was introduced to me as a junior Boxer, and then reinforced when I switched to Judo.

Routines establish patterns, and we all know how much our Brain loves patterns.

My Judo Sensei would say that diligently turning up to training was more important than what we did in training, and at one time about 20 years later when I was talking with my Wing Chun Sifu Jim Fung, I asked him…

Me…”What does it take to become a Master”?

Sifu Jim…”Turn up to training and pay attention”?

This is a deep subject that deserves personal study.

When we consider that what we do in training is mostly make-believe it is not so big a deal if we forget it, but there are parts of it that simply must be remembered, must become routine.

If you can remember the conversations we have had about short-term memory vs long-term memory, conscious memory vs sub-conscious memory this is very much connected.

Translating the work we do into images, feelings and ideas as opposed to techniques.

My main reason for this Blog is to try to keep everyone connected to what we are striving for, but nothing comes close to real-time, hands-on training.

I do know how tricky it can be to prioritise our training to be the number one choice for what to do in our free time, friends and family tend to see ‘training’ as a hobby and do not understand the drive to keep the routine.

In so many ways keeping to the ‘Routine’ is more important than the content of any training.

The thing about routines is that they don’t require us to predict how we will feel in the future but instead ask us to determine how we’ll act despite how we might feel.

There’s real strength in that.

Routines develop disciple.

Discipline develops Self-Control.

Self-Control wins the day.


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