Tai Chi Y4D65: Five Times

Time heals all wounds. And time makes you better.  Yesterday, I watched a student of mine deliver a presentation on their martial arts training since the time they were young, until today. This kid could do moves that I’m not sure I will ever do.  But they also have six years of practice, when the body is all young and flexible and finds it easier to learn moves like that.  At two or three one-hour sessions of practice a week under a teacher, that kid has put in close to a thousand hours of time toward their practice; when you add in competitions and additional practice at home, and just casually swinging a stick in the back yard… I bet this kid has achieved the thousand-hour mark.

When I start with a guess that I’ve spent fifteen to twenty minutes a day for three years and two months on my martial arts practice, it’s harder not to do the mathematics, and figure that I’m somewhere between 275 and 300 hours of practice. You might think that’s depressing, to discover that you’re way behind a kid you thought you were way ahead of… but it’s just not true.  First of all, there’s no ahead or behind in this. There’s only more practiced and less practiced.  Second of all, I’m encouraged.  I will get better.  This student will get better.  We’ll both be better tomorrow, and next year, than we are today.  Of course, other things may get in the way for both of us: life, career, love, health, all have their part to play in this dance.

Today I did 20 push-ups, 20 squats, the two qi gong forms, and the tai chi form four times.  That was a half-hour of practice.  A half-hour of practice a day for a year-and-a-day is 183 hours of practice.  An hour of practice for a year-and-a-day is 366 hours of practice. Forty-five minutes of practice is 274-and-a-half hours of practice.  Ten minutes of practice daily is  61 hours of practice a year.

So ask yourself: What’s your level of commitment. What would you like to be able to achieve?  Set your schedule and your priorities accordingly.

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