Question about training amounts at the Dojo

Razureu

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I understand getting things down come with practice. And the more practice usually the better. But would going to the dojo more say for example : four days week over two days a week cut the time it takes to move up in belts? from what I read average time to Shodan is about 3+ years. So could that be cut in half almost?
 

jks9199

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I understand getting things down come with practice. And the more practice usually the better. But would going to the dojo more say for example : four days week over two days a week cut the time it takes to move up in belts? from what I read average time to Shodan is about 3+ years. So could that be cut in half almost?
It doesn't necessarily work that way. There's an old story about a young man who goes to a famous master, and asks how long it would take to learn the master's system. The master answers "10 years." The young man is disappointed, but not deterred, and asks "what if I train twice as hard and twice as long each day?" and the master answers "20 years."

While some aspects of training depend on the style, generally, the time taken to reach shodan is recognition of the time it takes to internalize key elements of the system. Sometimes there are a very intense programs that are quicker, like the Yoshinkan Aikido Senshusei Course -- but they are very intense and demanding programs.

Note, however, that hard and dedicated training will let you develop skill more rapidly.
 
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Razureu

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Thank you for the informative response.
 

Stonecold

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I would say train as much & hard as you can. You only get out what you put in.
Don't make it about the rank, make it about the skill & love of training, you will get a lot more.
Train Hard, Respect All, Fear None
 

lklawson

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I understand getting things down come with practice. And the more practice usually the better. But would going to the dojo more say for example : four days week over two days a week cut the time it takes to move up in belts?
Actually, the answer is "yes." Usually, anyhow. Martial arts are a "physical skill" and so time spent in correct training ("perfect practice makes perfect") will increase ability in that physical skill. The more time spent in training that physical skill, the more ingrained that skill becomes.

Further, most martial arts organizations have a "minimum hours on the mat" time requirement for mudansha (sub-black belt) ranks. So if the org requires 40 hours on mat to go from 10th kyu to 9th kyu you'll rack up those hour faster by training more often.

The catch for this is, that this assumes a sort of "average" ability to learn physical skills. Some people grok certain physical skills faster than others and some people just never seem to "get it." I've seen some people train like mad for long periods of time and just never seem to get a certain aspect that they need for personal advancement. And I've seen others just magically understand key elements instantly. Those people still have to meet the "minimum hours" but they know what they need to at that point. The others, struggling to get it, may need much more training past the minimum requirements or "average length of time." This is why there are "tests" and, further, it is the Sensei's job to be able to judge a person's training, advancement, and when he is ready to continue or needs more work and what to work on.

from what I read average time to Shodan is about 3+ years. So could that be cut in half almost?
Maybe, maybe not. Every person is different and needs a different amount of physical training to figure this crap out. Don't become fixated on the end goal. Yes, it's a goal to strive for. Those things that make goal setting useful training aids can also be "abused" by the person striving to reach that goal so that they miss the important things in the journey that make the goal worth reaching.

Ask yourself what's more important, the black belt or the skills that it is supposed to represent?

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

Andrew Green

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You do get diminishing returns.

Meaning doubling your training time doesn't equal doubling the rate that you improve. It will improve it, up to a point, but it is not a linear relationship.

There will also come a point where your body can't keep up and you can actually start hurting progress (overtraining), where that is depends on your level of physical fitness.
 

punisher73

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I understand getting things down come with practice. And the more practice usually the better. But would going to the dojo more say for example : four days week over two days a week cut the time it takes to move up in belts? from what I read average time to Shodan is about 3+ years. So could that be cut in half almost?

The question is why? Do you want the belt, or do you want the knowledge/skills that come with what the belt represents?

Most styles have a curriculum that you learn to get to Shodan. Let's say that you need 10 katas for Shodan along with your basics. You work your butt off and learn all 10 very quickly and can get through them pretty well. You do that in your 1 1/2 years. How well do you really understand them? How well do you really know them? You have a practice and you have a study, do you know the difference? You can go through lots of repetitions and get the physical rather quickly, but how do you apply those things to other situations? What makes those techniques work? How can you apply those concepts to create other techniques not explicity shown in the kata?

This is what will take longer, if your goal is only time you will shortcut an important part of the learning process by only looking at the outward appearances.
 

morph4me

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I know someone who got his shodan in under 3 years, going to 2 classes 5 days a week. He was lucky enough to have a lot of flexibility in his job. I myself got to shodan in 6 years going 3 x a week. I also know people who did the same in less time and in more time. Some of them took private classes, some showed up religously for a couple of months and sporadically for a couple of months, back an forth. Depends on the person, the circumstances, the curriculum, the instructor.

What's the rush? It's about the journey, not the destination. Enjoy the journey.
 

Aiki Lee

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I have a similar story. A student in my organization earned his BB in about a year and a half. How did this happen? Let me explain.

In our school we have no time requirement for ranking, if you can perform the necessary skills for that rank under the correct conditions then you earn the rank. This student learned the skills quickly and earned a BB quickly by training five days a week with an average of three hours on the mat, the problem is that the skills are not internalized yet. So while he could perform the techniques and show the skills under stress and against an uncooperative uke; there were little things missing. He had some issues that should have been fixed before getting to BB such as proper posturing and timing and intention. He's a good black belt and deserves the rank, but now he has to spend more time bfore going to 2nd degree which will now take him longer than most would normally if going at the average rate.

The point I'm trying to make is that you can learn the skills quickly, but you may also miss out on the subtle things that can come only with time. I'm all for training as much as possible, but train to improve your skill like the others are saying and the rank should follow naturally.
 

Nolerama

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You also have to factor in increased training time vs. potential injury.

Training hard, every day, will increase your chances of injury. Even small injuries could hinder your performance in the long run. You won't maximize your learning potential with a sprained wrist.

So I say train as long as it's fun to you, as frequently as you would like. Just don't make training a point of resentment. Thinking that you HAVE to be at the gym, or saying things like "Aw! Training again!?!" or "I missed out on my mother's funeral because I was training" should never happen.

Make it enjoyable, but listen to your body.
 

lklawson

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You also have to factor in increased training time vs. potential injury.

Training hard, every day, will increase your chances of injury. Even small injuries could hinder your performance in the long run. You won't maximize your learning potential with a sprained wrist.
+1!

Training while injured, particularly "hard training," will decrease the effectiveness of your training and increase recovery time.

As you get older you learn how to "train around" injuries.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

SahBumNimRush

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It doesn't necessarily work that way. There's an old story about a young man who goes to a famous master, and asks how long it would take to learn the master's system. The master answers "10 years." The young man is disappointed, but not deterred, and asks "what if I train twice as hard and twice as long each day?" and the master answers "20 years."

While some aspects of training depend on the style, generally, the time taken to reach shodan is recognition of the time it takes to internalize key elements of the system. Sometimes there are a very intense programs that are quicker, like the Yoshinkan Aikido Senshusei Course -- but they are very intense and demanding programs.

Note, however, that hard and dedicated training will let you develop skill more rapidly.

Very true! More practice leads to better skill. But a BB is not only about skill, it is about the internalization and understanding of key concepts which only comes with time, not necessarily how many days a week you go to class.

Also, especially early on, 4 days a week may burn you out. In our Dojang, we encourage students to commit to 2 classes per week, and only more than that if they really want to. More classes may lead to injury (due to fatigue) and also may burn out your interest.
 

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