It is noticeable that hardcore martial artists make time to train. Many of them have full-time jobs, kids and a family, and still are able to find time after work and responsibilities, to train every day. It’s called dedication.
But it’s more than that. It’s necessary if you want to get good. You get good at what you do consistently. Driving a car, drawing pictures, cooking meals. Doesn’t matter. Those who are good at these things, and can even eventually do them with ease, do them consistently.
Here I would like to explore why it is important to train consistently in your martial art. Four main factors, though I’m sure there are more, will be considered: Fitness, memory, teaching and reflexes. It will be clear why these factors are relevant as we go along.
Martial arts is an incredible cardiovascular workout and it also builds strength, balance and coordination. When you practice techniques many times, over and over again, over an extended period of time, your muscles get used to doing the techniques, they are trained and strengthened, conditioned, to do the techniques. This actually builds strength simultaneously. You are working your heart and lungs and, along with that, your legs. Whether you are rolling on the mat doing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu or doing forms, practicing techniques or sparring doing Karate or Kung Fu, you are breathing, the heart is pumping and you are building up stamina. Your air and blood are circulating and your body is getting strong and healthy. Obviously this is all necessary in a self-defense situation.
You must memorize techniques to understand how to do them correctly and even to do them spontaneously. One way this memory of techniques is ensured is by doing them repeatedly. It burns them into the brain and, again, muscle memory. Eventually you are so conditioned to do the techniques, they become second-nature and you can pull them off spontaneously.
If it is your plan to teach your art, which most martial artist I think want to do, then you are going to need to know the techniques, all of the material, you are wanting to teach. You can only know this material in and out by doing it consistently. A serious martial artist, after years of training, has probably performed techniques and moves thousands of times. You obviously get used to doing those moves, have to understand them and so can convey them to another person, know the technique and so know what to show someone about the technique; in addition you can necessarily critique someone who is learning the technique to ensure they are doing it effectively and correctly.
Actually performing moves and techniques and doing drills, develops reflexes. If done intensely, explosively with bursts of energy, it will develop fast-twitch muscles which develop reflexes and speed. Certain drills develop reflexes too, if they are designed for you to spontaneously respond to another person’s movements and attacks.
So, clearly, to get good at your art and to understand it, you must train in it consistently. Doing so, develops both mind and body, a complete understanding and refinement of your fighting system.