Reps ≠ Practice

“Burning Rattan” is the instructor’s blog here at maelstrom. It covers a wide range of topics from the broad spectrum of experience and character of the guros.


I’m a big fan of training and teaching from the concept/context basis: you need to understand the underlying concept behind your technical training. Without knowing why you are doing what you are doing you have a much harder time self-correcting and keeping things progressing.


One of the things that I really like about PTK is that there is a practical reason for everything. That isn’t to say that I, or my own instructors, will always agree on what the reasons are, or which apply at which time – but having 4 or 5 reasons for a particular way of doing a technique is – for me anyway – far better than having no reason at all, or doing things for purely “stylistic” reasons. Of course style may be the purpose of a movement. As long as you don’t confuse the purpose it doesn’t matter really what it is!


The need for that core logic, and the need for being aware of it, is the reason why I think it is really important to understand that doing more reps does not automatically equal more practice.
Practicing implies perfecting, honing, improving. It is not just repeating.

Repping movements will certainly build muscle memory and will increase your proficiency with that movement, but if you are not doing it mindfully, checking that it’s really efficient, that’s it’s serving the purpose it was meant for, etc. then you could easily be building poor reflexes, or at least reflexes that are not actually appropriate for what you might intend. You are doing something, but are you really practicing your art?



If you are aware of what a movement is for, and if you are mindful of that concept/purpose as well as the elements necessary to make it work, then as you drill each rep can build upon the last and you can progress. You will be practicing, and not just repeating yourself.


This can be a lot harder than you might think, and it demands that we are more fully invested in our training. It also makes your training a lot more engaging and rewarding.


So keep that in mind when you are running your triangles and working your 1’s and 2’s on the tires. Are you going somewhere with it, or just running place?

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