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Learning vs. Practicing

PracticeI enjoy learning new things. It’s just part of my character. I’m not a big fan of practicing. So to drill the same thing over and over again, does not hold my interest.

The unfortunate fact of life is that you can never be great without practice, and lots of it. With talent alone you can be good, but to truly excel at anything you’ve got to practice.

Repetition grinds action into long term memory. These long term memories serve as domain knowledge in order to give you perspective on other learning experiences. Without practice the knowledge will not be stored in long term memory.

Martial arts provides a good example. If I practice a jab for an extended period of time, I will have a great deal of domain knowledge about jabs, more so then someone that practices a variety of techniques. I will also be able to evaluate other techniques against that knowledge. There is a balance to this and identifying your goal is important. If your goal is to be the the guru of jabbing, you’ve got to practice techniques within that domain.

It’s the same with martial art styles in general, if you want to be an expert in a given system you have to practice that system, the more you practice within that domain, the more expert you become. When you practice in different systems you gain perspective at a different level, your expertise becomes more general. The brain handles narrow domain knowledge better then broad, the factors become too many to effectively evaluate a particular technique. Your knowledge becomes more general.

Thus, you can never be at the top of a domain unless you relentlessly practice. If the domain is to broad, you’ll never be able to process all the experience to reach a level that you would have if you stuck with something more specific.


Written by Dan

April 28, 2009 at 9:37 am

Posted in Life, Martial Arts

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