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Old 03-09-2012, 11:24 AM   #1
Zoe S Toth
Dojo: Seidokan Aikido of South Carolina
Location: Columbia, SC
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Training Frequency

Hello all!

I had a good discussion with a few of my friends about training frequency in martial arts vs results. (Please excuse us- we are engineering students. I think we need to find a mathematical representation of everything before we are happy.) One thing we quickly agreed on was it was not a linear relationship- ie 2 hours a week is not 1/2 as good as 4 hours. So we decided it was an expedentual curve and got started arguing about the rate of decrease of return.

We're a college college and people come in all the time and ask 'How many times would I have to show up a week?' or 'How many times a week do you have to train to get a belt?"

We tell them attending 2 out of 3 sessions is average for 'normal' progression. So that's 4 hours a week. Students who only attend 1 session are considered to be 'maintaining' their skills and nothing more by our Sensei.

Then some of the senior students attend our Sensei's off-campus dojo once or twice a week. So you have people attending 4 session (8 hours) and then the officers go to all 6 sessions offered for a total of 12 hours.

I know doubling your hours doesn't make you learn twice as fast but it helps.

Any thoughts? What type of hours are other people training?
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Old 03-09-2012, 12:20 PM   #2
Alic
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Re: Training Frequency

1 class for skill retention (2 hr), 2 class for steady progression (4 hr), 3 to improve (6 hr), 4 classes to advance quickly (8 hr), 5 classes or more (10+ hr) and your pretty much uchi-deshi.

This week I trained for 6 hr with 2 more weekend, so I'm advancing the fastest. I'm also the most injuried.

People who ask for minimum class to get a belt will never get better. They think it's like getting a license or cramming for a test. Martial arts is hard work and stready progression. People who thinks they can cut corners in training won't last long anyhow, since they never self train, they don't improve fast either.
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Old 03-09-2012, 12:22 PM   #3
Shadowfax
 
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Re: Training Frequency

Five classes over three days for a total of 7.5 hours a week.
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Old 03-09-2012, 12:24 PM   #4
Chris Li
 
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Re: Training Frequency

Quote:
Zoe Toth wrote: View Post
Hello all!

I had a good discussion with a few of my friends about training frequency in martial arts vs results. (Please excuse us- we are engineering students. I think we need to find a mathematical representation of everything before we are happy.) One thing we quickly agreed on was it was not a linear relationship- ie 2 hours a week is not 1/2 as good as 4 hours. So we decided it was an expedentual curve and got started arguing about the rate of decrease of return.

We're a college college and people come in all the time and ask 'How many times would I have to show up a week?' or 'How many times a week do you have to train to get a belt?"

We tell them attending 2 out of 3 sessions is average for 'normal' progression. So that's 4 hours a week. Students who only attend 1 session are considered to be 'maintaining' their skills and nothing more by our Sensei.

Then some of the senior students attend our Sensei's off-campus dojo once or twice a week. So you have people attending 4 session (8 hours) and then the officers go to all 6 sessions offered for a total of 12 hours.

I know doubling your hours doesn't make you learn twice as fast but it helps.

Any thoughts? What type of hours are other people training?
For copying the basic outer form - maybe 2-3 times per week.

For actually training your body to do anything worthwhile - each and every day.

I usually do an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening, if there's no group training that day.

Best,

Chris

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Old 03-09-2012, 12:37 PM   #5
PhilMyKi
Dojo: Seibukan, Milton Keynes
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Re: Training Frequency

Hi,

May in add that all the training in the world is for nought if there is no quality to training or teaching. - Someone who puts in six hours a week serious time with capable partners and teachers will achieve a lot more than another training fifteen hours in an environment of incompetence. That said, if you want a yard stick - I agree with Chris.

What about the law of diminishing returns? Theres food for thought!

Phil

Last edited by PhilMyKi : 03-09-2012 at 12:44 PM. Reason: after thought

Vorsprung durch Aikido!
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Old 03-09-2012, 01:29 PM   #6
lbb
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Re: Training Frequency

Everyone has their own optimal number, but I think we can make a few valid generalizations. I think that a brand new student who trains once a week is unlikely to gain enough of a foothold to stay in the style. A new student who trains twice a week can make slow progress, if they're patient and persistent. Three seems to work well for many people, but three is more than most people can do, even if their dojo offers that many classes. I do three classes most weeks because I have to be away from home three days out of every week. On weeks when I'm home all week, I usually train five days, which is all the classes we have, but I think that would probably not be ideal for me if I could do it every week. Still, it would be fun to find out.
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Old 03-09-2012, 01:44 PM   #7
Marie Noelle Fequiere
 
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Re: Training Frequency

Each student is unique.
Someone who is healthy will improve faster than someone struggling with physical limitations, like for example, joint pains or anemia.
Someone who is blessed with excellent coordination will improve faster than someone plague with three left feet (like me).
And, finally, the student's own determination in class is a huge factor to consider. Someone who gives one hundred and fifty percent of what they've got twice a week will improve faster than someone who sleeps in class five times a week.
When I was helping teaching Karate, my answer to that question was: I don't know.
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Old 03-09-2012, 04:55 PM   #8
GMaroda
Dojo: Allegheny Aikido
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Re: Training Frequency

Quote:
Cherie Cornmesser wrote: View Post
Five classes over three days for a total of 7.5 hours a week.
And I'll always be jealous. Damn you and your flexible schedule!
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Old 03-09-2012, 05:00 PM   #9
BWells
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Re: Training Frequency

Well after about 5 years of teaching our beginners class, in general I find the following. If people come once a week they drop out within 3 months. If they come 2 x a week they may or may not stay but probably after around 6 months they are more likely to leave. If they come 3 x a week they have a chance to stay for 1 or more years. The strange one is that if they come 4+ times a week, they will probably be one in 6 months. Of course there are exceptions to all these but the 4+ seems to have a burn out factor.

Thanks
Bruce
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Old 03-09-2012, 05:25 PM   #10
aikishihan
Dojo: aikido academy/alhambra,california
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Re: Training Frequency

24/7/365.

You may work out the details within that time frame.

In oneness,

Last edited by aikishihan : 03-09-2012 at 05:32 PM.
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Old 03-09-2012, 05:40 PM   #11
Chris Li
 
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Re: Training Frequency

Quote:
Francis Takahashi wrote: View Post
24/7.

You work out the details within that time frame.

In oneness,
Correct, of course, but functionally not so useful, I think.

It's a common answer, but it always reminds me of that story from "The Reckoning" by David Halberstam - his study of Nissan in Japan and Ford in the United States in the 1980's.

Nissan, of course, was fanatic about quality control.

In an interview with (I think) a Vice-President at Ford Halberstam asked who was responsible for quality control, to which the answer was "everybody". When he asked again who was held responsible for quality control on a day to day basis the answer was "nobody".

No reflection on Francis, of course, but I've heard the 24/7 answer from people who just aren't training very much (or at all) too many times to take it at face value.

Best,

Chris

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Old 03-09-2012, 07:06 PM   #12
aikishihan
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Re: Training Frequency

Chris is also correct in stating the obvious.

The functionional words are to "work out" each day within your humanly limi
tations, but without any constraints on one's will, desire or vision to achieve.

The awesome elegance of a simple reply, often holds more promise and unbridled optimism than any that are crafted through cleverness or designs of deceipt.

This does not apply to Chris, of course, but to anyone who may selfishly
or unwittingly dare to question your right and capacity to dream bigger, and proceed farther, with your daily plans to suceed.
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Old 03-09-2012, 07:10 PM   #13
Shadowfax
 
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Re: Training Frequency

Quote:
Greg Maroda wrote: View Post
And I'll always be jealous. Damn you and your flexible schedule!
Neener neener neener!
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Old 03-09-2012, 07:26 PM   #14
phitruong
Dojo: Charlotte Aikikai Agatsu Dojo
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Re: Training Frequency

Quote:
Francis Takahashi wrote: View Post
24/7/365.

,
taking a day off every 4 years? slacker!

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
http://charlotteaikikai.org
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Old 03-09-2012, 07:39 PM   #15
aikishihan
Dojo: aikido academy/alhambra,california
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Re: Training Frequency

Hi Phi, what can I say,,,,,,,,,,,you got me pegged!
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Old 03-09-2012, 10:08 PM   #16
Mario Tobias
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Re: Training Frequency

10,000 hours to attain mastery as a rule of thumb. Forgot who mentioned this in his book. This doesn't only apply to aikido but to everything in general. In 30 years, you need 6 hrs per week. 3x at 1-2 hours per week seem about right to achieve this.

So start counting!
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Old 03-10-2012, 03:19 AM   #17
SeiserL
 
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Re: Training Frequency

In learning theory and skill acquisition, research supports that several shorter sessions equate to better skill/content retention that one long block of time. So perhaps its not the amount of time, but how you divide that time.

Also, its about the quality of that time. Many people spend many hours at the dojo and on the mat, but not really training (more socializing). So you may also have to qualify the intent and intensity of the quantified clock time and number of days.

As in running, more is not necessarily better. Too much, too fast, too soon often leads to overload, lack of progress, and early burn-out.

Human engineering for skill acquisition is an interesting topic. Please keep us posted on your findings.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 03-10-2012, 03:38 AM   #18
danielajames
 
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Re: Training Frequency

Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote: View Post
In learning theory and skill acquisition, research supports that several shorter sessions equate to better skill/content retention that one long block of time. So perhaps its not the amount of time, but how you divide that time.

Also, its about the quality of that time. Many people spend many hours at the dojo and on the mat, but not really training (more socializing). So you may also have to qualify the intent and intensity of the quantified clock time and number of days.

As in running, more is not necessarily better. Too much, too fast, too soon often leads to overload, lack of progress, and early burn-out.

Human engineering for skill acquisition is an interesting topic. Please keep us posted on your findings.
There is a lot of 'modern' skill ack. theory in the traditional practice of martial arts, agree with Lynn's points, and there are also some clangers too.

These were some ideas that really changed the way I practice and lead practice.
- Blocked learning - i.e. repetitive drills are great earlier on, but can lead to backward skill development after this
- The variability and stress testing you get through a dynamic uke-nage interaction where uke is pushing nage to the brink is right up there
- The idea of error free learning, where you always get to complete the movement i.e. our aikido kata
The idea of distractor tasks to stop the cognitive brain from impeding a successful action (we might call it ki, moving meditation etc..)

best,
dan

Daniel James, Brisbane Aikido Republic: AikiPhysics, Aikido Brisbane news,
ph 0413 001 844, 1593 Logan Rd, Mt.Gravatt, Brisbane, AUSTRALIA
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Old 03-10-2012, 08:12 AM   #19
Lee Salzman
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Re: Training Frequency

Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote: View Post
In learning theory and skill acquisition, research supports that several shorter sessions equate to better skill/content retention that one long block of time. So perhaps its not the amount of time, but how you divide that time.

Also, its about the quality of that time. Many people spend many hours at the dojo and on the mat, but not really training (more socializing). So you may also have to qualify the intent and intensity of the quantified clock time and number of days.

As in running, more is not necessarily better. Too much, too fast, too soon often leads to overload, lack of progress, and early burn-out.

Human engineering for skill acquisition is an interesting topic. Please keep us posted on your findings.
There was some other recent research I saw in an article, though sadly I can't find the link, but it said more or less the following: learning sessions must be sufficiently spaced out that you are forced to expend effort recalling what you did in the last session, because this recall effort strengthens those particular memories.

So spaced out sessions rather than constant practice allowed for that recall effect to come into play more often. But at the same time, it was a balance, because if you spaced those sessions out too long, of course it was also detrimental to learning.

It was also mentioning about how it was best to train related skills in a circuit, rather than a long block on each component, then the next component for a long block, but rather bring up all the skills a little bit at once, which would seem to allow this recall effect to better come into play, while also allowing for better integration of all the practiced components.

The research was studying violinists, and how the elite vs. merely also-rans spent their time, and surprising the elite level violinists spent somewhat less time practicing, and their training was more compartmentalized in the day. When they were not practicing, they simply went about their lives and didn't worry about the violin. Whereas the also-rans seemed to if anything be a bit more obsessive about their practice and get much less out of it for the same amount of time spent because it was not as well compartmentalized.

Train smarter, not harder, I guess. So long as you train enough, but enough is certainly probably not as much as sadomasochists would like us to believe.
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Old 03-10-2012, 03:41 PM   #20
Zoe S Toth
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Re: Training Frequency

The 10,000 hour rule is a really cool study. I remember reading supporting articles on study of grandmaster chess players. They found that reflection and studying other player's games was a major part of superior player's daily routine.

I've translated that into keeping an Aikido journal to help me think about what I did during class and write down the advice I was given. I think its helped.
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Old 03-10-2012, 08:47 PM   #21
Mario Tobias
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Re: Training Frequency

Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote: View Post
In learning theory and skill acquisition, research supports that several shorter sessions equate to better skill/content retention that one long block of time. So perhaps its not the amount of time, but how you divide that time.

Also, its about the quality of that time. Many people spend many hours at the dojo and on the mat, but not really training (more socializing). So you may also have to qualify the intent and intensity of the quantified clock time and number of days.

As in running, more is not necessarily better. Too much, too fast, too soon often leads to overload, lack of progress, and early burn-out.

Human engineering for skill acquisition is an interesting topic. Please keep us posted on your findings.
Adding to this, self-awareness is also important. You need to be fully aware of what you think you are doing right or doing wrong and reinforce the good and change the bad. Blind repetitive practice will do more harm than good. I've seen a lot of people just go through the motions for the sake of completing a technique. As Einstein describes; Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
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Old 03-11-2012, 07:55 AM   #22
chillzATL
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Re: Training Frequency

I train aikido 2-3 times per week or all day, every day, depending what we want to call aikido. Later today I will be polishing hardwood floors, manually, training.
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Old 03-14-2012, 10:32 AM   #23
Chris Evans
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Re: Training Frequency

An idealized benchmark: I've read of Okinawan karate-ka training two hours a day, 14 hours a week, after working full days in their farms.

A more realistic target for me is about 7 hours a week, but when I used to compete, as a young man, I trained 20 hours a week and I still wasn't very good, but almost always made to semi-finals, at least.

Shaolin Temple "professional" martial monks train six to eight hours per day, everyday, but not sure how much time was also devoted to cultivating ch'an (samadhi meditation).

Last edited by Chris Evans : 03-14-2012 at 10:37 AM.

"The state that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting by fools."
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Old 03-14-2012, 10:46 AM   #24
Walter Martindale
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Re: Training Frequency

Expu who? Exponential?
Diminishing returns exists, but for elite athletes, as long as there's some improvement, many find it worth doing.
The 10,000 hour thing is quite well discussed, but there's a range within which most people fall in their pursuit of mastery.
I know a woman who raced in the finals of world rowing championships, in the lightweight women't single sculls, less than 13 months after she started sculling. I also know people who have been training for lots and lots of years who just don't quite get it. The first is one of those six-sigma people - WAY out there in the bell-curve of skill development, but you'll get more than 60% of the population developing what could be called "mastery" between about 6000 and 14000 hours of training (deliberate practice).
So - to the OP - The more time you can put in, the faster you'll learn. If you're an engineering student, it probably wouldn't hurt to have a 45-60 minute practice before breakfast.. (SPARK, the new science of exercise and the brain)..

Cheers,
W
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Old 03-14-2012, 11:26 AM   #25
grondahl
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Re: Training Frequency

I think that the 10000h are based on the works of Anders Eriksson. He talks of hours of deliberate practice, 10000h crappy training will make you an expert of crappy stuff.
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