Sunday, January 03, 2010


Just reading "Outliers" by Malcolm Gladwell.
He suggests that research has shown true expertise, world-class expertise, in a complex task such as a professional sport, playing an instrument, mastering chess, or the like is achieved at a level of about 10,000 hours of practice. The "magic number" is quoted by neurologist Daniel Levitin.

10,000 is a big number. 10,000 hours is a long time.

To give an easy measure, most people work about 2,000 hours per year if they work an 8 hour day. That would suggest mastery of a job function, even a relatively complex one, in about 5 years' time.

For hobbies, it takes a bit longer. Simple math would say that if you trained in martial arts for 2 hours per week, 50 weeks a year, that is 100 hours per year. Reaching mastery at this pace would then take you 100 years...uh oh.

This idea is not meant to be discouraging. Rather, it is to suggest that you increase your training time as much as possible. 10 hours a week sounds like a lot, doesn't it? That is averaging 2 hours a day on weekdays... However, that is still (just) 500 hours a year and then you would still need 20 years or so to match the researchers' definition of mastery :-)

How many hours of training do you think you have spent?

Most people end up settling for less than world class expertise.
Sadly, many teachers also settle for less than world class expertise.
Consider your teacher's dedication to training.

If martial arts is truly your passion, like it is mine, what will make all the difference is simply


Now, stop reading and get back to training. So will I.

"Practice isn't what you do once you are good. Practice is THE THING WHICH MAKES YOU GOOD."

Thanks Malcolm...

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