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Why Training Once A Day Can Be More Beneficial Than Three Times

blog Jiu Jitsu Kit Dale learning Memorising Training

One of the biggest questions and arguably one of the most important aspects of jiu jitsu is how to structure your training for best possible longterm memory retention. And I stress the word "longterm" because most people concentrate only on short-term memory as it's easier to gauge your progress, as you can feel yourself become more familiar with movements in the moment. But what most people don't take into account is the long-term memory retention.

I'm going to explain this as simply as I can. Everything we do is stored in our short-term memory, then some of it is transferred into long-term information (a process that usually occurs over a few weeks). Why is this important? Well not everything gets transferred into long-term information. Actually I would go further to say that only about 20 mins worth of any particular study per day would eventually be transferred into long-term information.

Kit Dale Memory training Jiu Jitsu 19 Guard Passes

This means that In an average class of 90 mins training time, you are most likely forgetting on average 80% of what you are learning.

Imagine our longterm memory is represented by several glasses. Each glass holds approx 20 minutes of information of a particular field. For example: there is one glass for half guard passes, one glass for half guard sweeps, one for wrestling and so on. Under these glasses we have a bath tub, representing short-term memory. When the glasses get over-filled with information, the information spills over into the short term memory (bath tub). The bathtub can hold as much water/information as possible. Only kicker is that it gets drained weekly. So anything in there will eventually be forgotten.

What would you prefer? To overflow one glass (longterm) filling the bathtub so that you have a short term memory spike that lasts only a week? Or to fill many long term glasses and have as little flow over to short term as possible? The answer is quite simple. Fill many glasses!

Now I understand we are not computers. We don't just download information like Neo in the Matrix. But we can do a few things to curb that 80% memory reduction. I was able to go from white to black belt in just over four years. A big reason for that was not that I absorbed information faster than the average individual, but that I didn't spend unnecessary amounts of time on any particular subject.

I spread my sessions out in a way that I covered anywhere from 5 to 7 different areas of jiu jitsu. Instead of spending an hour working half guard sweeps, and forgetting the majority of that work 2 weeks later. I would spend 10-15 minutes working half guard sweeps. Then I would work take downs. Then I'd work guard passing, then back control and so on. This way I didn't cram my short term memory storage. But I gave my brain just as much as it could transfer into long-term information. Essentially retaining almost all the information I had learned by spacing or interweaving my training instead of cramming or blocking it into one subject daily. This may sound chaotic but if you spend sometime studying the science behind learning and the way we store information it will make a lot of sense to you.

Kit Dale's guard Passing Masterclass

My advice to you, whether you are studying jiu-Jitsu or social economics at university. Spread your studying over many different elements of your particular subject and repeat weekly or every couple days to reinforce it. Rather than spending whole days or sessions on one subject only to forget it a few weeks down the track.

As an example:

Monday Gi 

  • 15 min guard passing from half guard
  • 15 min sweeping from half guard
  • 15 min wrestling
  • 15 min submission only
  • 15 min escapes only  
  • 15 min working on balance

Tuesday No-Gi

  •  15 min guard passing from spider guard
  • 15 min sweeping from spider guard
  • 15 min judo
  • 15 min submission only
  • 15 min submission escapes
  • 15 min working on guard retention

Wednesday Gi

  • 15 min guard passing from x guard
  • 15 min sweeping from x guard
  • 15 min takedown defence
  • 15 min submission only
  • 15 min sweep defence
  • 15 min back attacks only

I set out training weekly like this and then repeat usually on a cycle of four weeks then I change it again, subjective to what areas I need work. Or for what competition I have coming up. I hope you found this information of value to you. If you would like to learn more CLICK HERE, and please share this for any of your friends you feel would benefit from this.

Kind regards,

Kit Dale


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