Same exercises, different execution

The perfect training balance

For each serious practitioner, a good workout program must maintain, extend and evolve all the skills involved in his martial art. For example, a perfect training session of 6 Dragons Kung Fu should include:

In simple terms: training must simultaneously cover a lot of aspects and higher is the level of the martial artist, harder is to cover all of them.

The wrong way

In the vast majority of martial arts, this need to maintain every aspect of the preparation at the same level force the students to perform endless times the same basic exercises with very rare variations (eg. during seminars, special sessions, etc.).

This eternal recurrence of the same, while it apparently favors the development of discipline and muscle memory, diminishes instead our adaptability to different contexts and therefore to realistic scenarios (self-defense, sports competitions, etc.).

The “error” behind this method is to trivialize the practice by tracing it back to the mere theory, to reduce the original voluntary gesture to a mnemonic codification of poses while the mind (the reason) remains virtually excluded.

Constant change: same exercises, different execution

In 6 Dragons Kung Fu, the most important exercises are not many (read /// Subscribe (it's free!) or Login to see this content ///) but they should never be carried out in the same way and / or in the same conditions.

As a solution to the problem of training balance, 6 Dragons Kung Fu reply with the concept of “constant change“.

Every day we have to find a way to face at the same time a similar but different challenge to the one of the previous sessions. This way our brain will be forced to:

  • Get constantly involved – Both physically both mentally at 100% (no distractions means high-quality martial growth)
  • Do not feel fatigue sensation – Our mind is occupied by complex tasks (no fatigue, no boring moments)
  • Consider each time new possibilities – By continuously looking at the problems from different points of view
  • Discard the less versatile options – By learning from errors (read Measure ourselves with errors)
  • Enter a sort of meditative state – Liberating us from the negative thoughts of everyday life

The only “constant” is the change, this is the most important conditioning of our method, the one we impose to our mind:

  • We are not talking about a simple increase of difficulty (which in any case there must be) but of a constant mutation
  • Sometimes it is mild sometimes is more incisive but always aimed at precise training goals (acquiring specific skills, read How to acquire special abilities)

Science confirms the theory of constant change

It’s demonstrated that the use of a constant variation improves the eduction of muscle memory better than the infinite repetition of the same exact movement. Recent studies (made by University of California, Berkeley and Cambridge University) have discovered that the best way to boost muscle memory (twice as quick) is to slightly modify the practice routine.

This phenomenon is called “reconsolidation“: our brain is forced each time to recall and modify existing memories with new knowledge giving out motor skills an incredible push.

What does it mean in terms of martial arts? It means that to learn to have a good fighting flow (read Dragon Motion: the swirling movements) it’s wrong to force us into preformatted forms / sequences. The founders of the various styles of Kung Fu has not worked this way; the repetition of the copy of the copy of the copy forces the loss of all the original efficacy (eg. the Tai Chi we practice today is only a faded and watered down version of what it was originally).

In any field, to repeat passively is absolutely wrong (study, martial arts, etc.).

In the next article of this series, we will see some concrete examples of “constant change” during our training sessions (read Training: examples of constant changes).

In-depth articles

Author: Master Kongling

Founder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.

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