Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Why I train at home (despite being lazy by nature)

This entry falls under 'Stating the obvious in as verbose a fashion as humanly possible'.
I want to get this down while I'm thinking about it.

I write this because, due to time and health limitations, I can rarely go to more than one night-time training session with my peers each week.

The obvious penalty to this situation is that, if I relied upon a single training session each week, I would make little progress at all in my studies of the sword for two reasons: 1 - lack of physical practice and resultant conditioning; 2 - less chances for the brain to make the necessary neural connections to allow learning to take a hold.

I'm a big believer that, if you go to bed soon after focusing on an area of study you will have a better chance for the knowledge to sink in, take root, and consolidate.

For those of you with the occasional interest in reading scientific articles, here is one on the subject of sleep and motor skill learning, and an experiment conducted to see if sleep improved motor-skill learning: http://learnmem.cshlp.org/content/10/4/275.full

An excerpt for those who DON'T want to click the link:
"...subjects were trained either in the morning or evening and retested at subsequent 12-h intervals following wake or sleep. Although practice on the motor-skill task improved performance within the training session for all groups equally, regardless of time of day, subjects trained in the morning demonstrated no significant improvement in speed when retested after 12 h of wake. In contrast, they showed an average 20% improvement by the next morning, following a night of sleep."

So, according to the above article, each night spent training and thinking about fencing before a decent night of sleep is going to give me a boost in my knowledge/skill retention.

Therefore, if I only think about fencing one night a week, and practice the physical skills one night a week, then I am missing several opportunities to push along my quest for improvement.

In conclusion, and stating the bloody obvious: it makes every kind of good sense to spend some time training each night before having a shower and going to bed, so much so that even a lazy man such as myself cannot help but give into the demands of logic.

I may go into what exercises I currently use in a later entry.

Benedictions all,

James O'Dwyer

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