The question of “How often should I train?” might not be asked out loud, but has probably been thought by many students thru the years. In our modern world where a high level of martial arts skill is not a necessity for survival, it might seem like a simple question. You train when you can fit it in… hopefully no less than 4 hours a week, which is perfectly fine. But, to those who want more – for those who want to squeeze every ounce of kung fu from their training – the answer is different. Your training becomes high on your priority list and you train as often as you possibly can – 3+ hours a day with a day or two off a week. In fact, your goal is to not miss a class.
Only more advanced students comprehend how vast our school’s kung fu is with its multitudes of striking, shuai jiao (wrestling), chin na (joint locking), and weapon techniques. When they do comprehend it, it’s both mind boggling and intimidating. In the beginning, most students want to simply learn new things, but as training evolves you want to be able to utilize everything you learn in a fighting situation. Even mastering a few techniques takes a great deal of commitment and focus. For those who decide to make this kung fu their own, there are three keys:
- Daily (or almost daily) training for multiple hours and multiple years – it’s no longer a “hobby” or way to “stay in shape”
- Healthy diet of natural, whole foods – meat, vegetables, fruits, and nuts to provide maximum nutrients per calorie ingested
- Sleep – 8 hours a night to reenergize your body, rehabilitate sore muscles and damaged body parts, and relax your mind.
Assuming you eat and sleep well daily, you can train as much as your schedule and body allows. Classes are scaled based on rank, which means lower ranks can expect more down time than higher ranks. Thus, you can begin upping your training hours whenever possible. Initially, you will likely notice your body is more fatigued and sore than normal after upping your training hours. However, your body will adapt and get stronger in time (again, assuming sufficient sleep and nutrients) and you will find your kung fu skills increase remarkably over a few months time. If your body becomes truly exhausted with aches, pains and a material lack of energy, then it’s time to take a day off to rest and recover – maybe even two days. Otherwise, push.
Remember , the Chinese term of “kung fu” refers to any study, learning, or practice that requires patience, energy, and time to complete. The secret to our kung fu – our martial art – is not in “secret techniques” or any such nonsense… it’s consistent effort over years with correct instruction and learning. This is the key. Thus, the answer to the question of “How much should I train?” is answered by another question, “How much skill do you want to acquire?”