Be Street Safe Practical Self-Defence Training and Advice
Be Street SafePractical Self-Defence Training and Advice

My unhealthy addiction

I am addicted to karate. When I began training at Kernow Karate I was always there, we even scheduled our holidays so I wouldn't miss any of the thrice weekly two hour long sessions.When the club reduced to two sessions a week I was mortified, particularly as it was the Friday evening that was dropped and I really enjoyed closing out a working week with a good hard workout to clear my mind ready for the weekend. The intense effort was, at least for me, key to why I am still there enjoying it. I watch some of the children who train for just one hour once a week, and not every week at that, and I wonder how they manage to remember anything from week-to-week. As an adult I think it would be even worse and I'd have quit through frustration at a lack of improvement. Mind you, I still feel like I haven't improved much.

When starting a new activity, I think the only way is to throw myself in as deep as possible. I can't think of a single activity where I have taken it up at one hour a week and grown to be successful. I suspect this applies to everyone - how long would it take to learn to drive, or play the piano, or anything else, at an hour a week? Then consider that "expertise" takes 10,000 hours to achieve (according to Erikson writing in "Professional athletes will train for five or six hours a day, six days a week" although note that his findings have no scientific basis) which is 20 hours a week, 50 weeks a year, for ten years. At one hour a week that's 200 years to become an expert - which is never.  This, as an aside, is why you shouldn't believe the "black belt is an expert" myth. A good club will expect perhaps four years of formal training at about four hours a week to reach this standard. That's about 800 hours, so less than 10% of the way to expertise. Of course, you should be training outside the formal setting - a decent instructor won't be passing someone at a Dan grading who has done nothing except rock up to a training session and be spoon fed!

With the reduction of formal training to four hours a week, I started to do more at home. I have the advantage of having three (albeit somewhat reluctant) training partners at home. I invested in some mats, a speed bag, a heavy punch bag, kick shield, and more. Then I decided I wasn't fit enough so I began my exercise programme. Then I decided I needed more strength, so that got added in as well. There was a knowledge gap too so the books and DVDs began to arrive in the post... Somehow six hours of formal karate training turned into four hours of formal training, two hours of home-based training, three hours of cardio training (30 minutes a day, six days a week), three hours of strength training and uncounted hours of reading and trying out new ideas. I'm still rubbish at it. Or, perhaps to be fair to myself, still realise there is so much more to learn.


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