How much training/hours/classes per week is optimal?

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by mrt2, Apr 7, 2018.

  1. mrt2

    mrt2 Purple Belt

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    My old school did 2 hours. That was back in the early 80s. The first 20 or 25 minutes was warmups, followed by another 20 or 30 minutes of basic blocks, punches and kicks. After that was forms, and in this case, the lower belts got a mini break as they only had to do the basic forms, then sit and watch the higher belts do their forms. Then sparring for about 15 minutes or so, or sometimes self defense techniques.

    My current school does 1 hour classes. First, while they do a warmup, it is more of the dynamic variety than the multiple static stretches my former school did. So I realized I need to arrive early and spend some extra time loosening up. Now, I haven't done any sparring yet and it looks like my current school does sparring only classes and doesn't do sparring at all in most regular classes. It is a different way of teaching, but I see the benefit. Though I haven't done a sparring class, I have watched them.

    I think it would be easier to maintain or even learn slowly going just once a week at my former school than at my current school. Given the shorter duration of the classes, it is incumbent on the student to go more often, or at least do some practicing at home. I saw an example of this last week. A woman who had just been awarded her green belt just a few weeks earlier showed up in class last week. I get the impression she doesn't train very much. She struggled to remember the yellow belt form. And she struggled with basic kick combinations, like front kick, roundhouse, or side kick hook kick. The assistant instructor had to pull her out of class and break down the basics of throwing a side kick and a roundhouse.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2018
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  2. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    I could see doing shorter classes if I was segmenting, perhaps. Stand-up vs. ground, grappling vs. striking, etc. But that would assume most folks are attending more than one class segment, and allow them to choose. I even considered separating the Classical (more traditional) elements of NGA into a separate class.

    But who am I kidding? I can't stay on a topic that narrow!
     
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  3. JR 137

    JR 137 Grandmaster

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    Most classes are 1 hour where I train. We do a quick 2 minute or so warmup/stretch. We go right into basics - kicks and hand techniques immediately afterwards, so it’s pretty much a continuation of the warmup. We cover a lot in that hour. We’re pretty much non-stop from thing to the next. No standing around and talking time, no water break time, etc. Many people from other dojos in our organization said we have the reputation as the toughest dojo because of our pace (and our fighting skills :) ). One or two visitors said we do more in 60 minutes than they do in 90 minutes. I smiled and said we’re just efficient.

    We have a 90 minute class one night a week that’s technically two 45 minute class. The first half is kata, and the second half is sparring and sparring drill-type stuff. Most people stay for both, but a few don’t. We have a 2 minute break in between. Those are pretty much non-stop pace too.

    The only time we slow down is when we’ve got a few people who’ve just been promoted. Once we’ve got a decent handle on the new standardized material, it’s business as usual. Last week’s double class was an example of it - most of us just promoted 2 weeks ago, so we went slow through the new material. We spent just about the whole 90 minutes working on new material - kata and a few other standardized things. It was a good change of pace, but I’d hate that pace if that was the norm.
     
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  4. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    While I'm not the least efficient instructor I know, I'm quite certain I could do better there. Next place I train, I probably should include that as a point to look for. I could learn a lot from a time-efficient instructor.
     
  5. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Senior Master

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    Hehe ah nice, yeah my old dojo was like that, pretty nonstop pace. When I visited another dojo, I'd be thinking, "Ah wow how come we stopped/slowed down for a bit? That's different... "

    Nowadays I truly do welcome and appreciate a slower paced class: )
     
  6. Flatfish

    Flatfish Black Belt

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    Our classes are one hour. Most folks show up early and get 20-30 min of rolling in before class starts. Warm up really depends on the instructor, some are more focused on conditioning than others. After class it's open mat if you have not had enough yet.
    I usually manage to go twice a week for class and if we don't have big plans on the weekend open mat on Sat morning for an hour or so.

    One thing about BJJ is that it does not lend itself to practicing by yourself....aside from watching YouTube vids....
     
  7. KenpoMaster805

    KenpoMaster805 Black Belt

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    not really its easy because they show you like 3 techniques and your basic and your katas
     
  8. Headhunter

    Headhunter Senior Master

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    They can show you 3 techniques and forms in 45 minutes....I find that hard to believe tbh to show it and teach it properly with good time to practice
     
  9. mrt2

    mrt2 Purple Belt

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    OK, folks. OP here. Throwing this out for discussion. the writer Malcom Gladwell famously asserted the 10,000 hour rule. I don't know this to be true, but Gladwell's theses is, if you want to achieve master of any activity, you need to put in 10,000 hours of practice. If this were applied to martial arts, one supposes that means reaching the highest levels of martial arts.

    Now, if the 10,000 hour rule is true, how long would it take to achieve a level of mastery in martial arts? If you only attended 2 one hour classes per week and spent no additional time on martial arts,, that is 104 hours in a year. At this rate, it would take 96 years to train for 10,000 hours. At a rate of 3 one hour classes per week, it would take 64 years. 4 one hour classes (or 3 classes plus one hour of training at home), it would take 48 years. 5 one hour classes would take 38 years. If you double that rate to 10 hours/week, you finally get to 19 years, which at least sounds possible for someone who spends a lot of time not working, and attending to family issues to get to a grandmaster status.

    Thoughts?
     
  10. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    The 10,000 hour rule is for high levels of mastery. So it would apply more to elite athletes than to a competent martial artist. If we applied it to the average long-term student, from my observations:
    • 2 classes per week, 1:15 per class = 3 hours
    • Sketchy practice outside class each week = 1 hour (that's very generous)
    • Fitness work each week outside class = 1 hour (I'm not even sure we should include this - it's not a skill-building exercise)
    That's 5 hours a week. Round to 50 weeks, given vacation, classes missed, etc. Ignore time off for injuries. That's 250 hours a year, so 40 years to "mastery".

    About what you came to.

    In reality, a moderate level of mastery can be had in 10 years with committed time and energy. Less if they put in the extra effort.
     
  11. mrt2

    mrt2 Purple Belt

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    I don't think outside fitness work counts, which is why I wouldn't count the extra time I spend before class warming up and stretching. And, for sure, I won't count the 4 to 5 hours per week over the summer I spend cycling because while that aerobic exercise, it is not martial arts related.

    It is pretty humbling, though to understand the chasm between competent martial artist and elite practitioner.

    Edit. I can go along with the 10 year time frame to achieve a moderate level of mastery.

    Interesting you mention 250 hours/year as that is pretty close to what I averaged in my previous practice. 2 hour classes, about 3 days/week for a little under 3 years (exactly 3 years actually but my first month or so was 2 days/week white belt classes for only 1 hours, and at the end,my training dropped off seriously in the last 2 months.) .

    Even so, I might have, in my previous practice, 600 to 700 hours of practice under my belt, some of which I hope counts towards my current training.
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2018
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  12. Monkey Turned Wolf

    Monkey Turned Wolf MT Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm not a fan of the 10,000 hour rule idea, because there's no definitive statement on what the activity is (or what 'mastery' is). I could learn judo, and have mastery of that be 10,000 hours. I learn boxing, and that's another 10,000 hours. Now someone else teaches a style that's a combination of judo and boxing, and students of that style take 10,000 hours? Mastering the same exact amount of material as me, but because the activity is defined differently, it takes them half the time?

    Beyond that, it also depends on the person. I played chess in high school, and would teach other people to play chess. I could see some had an immediate aptitude towards the game, others did not. In 10,000 hours, they won't both be in the same place of 'mastery'. Also would be different amounts of time if they kept playing the same people over and over, or if they did chess tactics puzzles and studied books.


    Different activities also take different amount of time to master. Hopscotch can be mastered quickly, playing piano not so much.
     
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  13. mrt2

    mrt2 Purple Belt

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    Obviously, a threshold level of talent is presumed, and if a person lacks any talent, presumably they won't stick it out for 10,000, hours, which is a seriously long time committment.

    Second, I think we are talking about activities that are hard. Yes, there are activities that are so easy anybody can master them in a few hours, or even minutes. So we are talking about hard stuff. Playing a musical instrument. Or writing music. Or writing novels. Computer programming. Learning a scientific discipline, or any major profession. Or, maybe, learning a style, or multiple styles of martial arts.
     
  14. JR 137

    JR 137 Grandmaster

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    For strikers, would hitting a bag for an hour count as outside fitness work or as practice?

    Quantifying that 10,000 hours is an exercise in futility IMO.
     
  15. Monkey Turned Wolf

    Monkey Turned Wolf MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Neither of those really addresses my points.

    There may be a threshold of talent assumed, but I could be (am) semi-talented at piano, I would argue my brother is much more talented than I am. We practiced roughly the same amount, he was much closer to 'mastery' after 10 years than I was.

    With activities that are hard, what determines that? Playing Go is pretty easy, you could pick up the game way quicker than programming, or music, or martial arts. But it still takes years and years to 'master'. There's a spectrum of how difficult things are to learn/do, and it's not just "hard" activities vs. "easy" activities.

    Another point, there are skills that can interrelate. If I were to learn viola, and spend 10,000 hours mastering it, I'm fairly certain it wouldn't take me another 10,000 hours to get the same level of mastery on violin, or even cello.

    I've heard that 10,000 hours thing a bunch, and I just don't buy into it at all. Too many variables for a blanket statement like that.
     
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  16. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Your previous training certainly should "count" - even if the arts are different, you were building movement skills that likely transfer once you get the basics of the new art down.

    My reason for including the outside fitness training is twofold. First, there's ample evidence that someone who doesn't get fitness training is likely (on average) to be more competent at the application of the skills than someone who doesn't. Secondly, if we looked at the time put in by elite people in anything in that study, part of the 10,000 hours he included will be for ancillary work. For sports, it certainly includes fitness time.
     
  17. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    The principle is that the 10,000 hours should apply to any complex skill activity (ruling out hopscotch) where there is a high level of competition (in the general sense of "he is your competition). So, it would apply to the Judo, Boxing, Juboxfu scenrio. The 10,000 hours would be necessary to excel among the best of each discipline. The initial uptake (fast learners) seems to have a small effect, mattering much more at the onset than after a few thousand hours of experience.
     
  18. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Based on the principles in the book, it would definitely count as part of the 10,000 hours. It is as much "practice" for striking as playing scales is for a musician.
     
  19. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    It's a principle, rather than a set number. The 10,000 hours was an observation based upon the people he interviewed during the study. It's not magic - rather, it's a way of understanding how elite skill is developed.
     
  20. Monkey Turned Wolf

    Monkey Turned Wolf MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Side note, Juboxfu is going to be my go-to from now on for a fictitious martial art. Try pronouncing it out loud.123
     

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