Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Reps vs. 'Do it for a while'

Photo courtesy of Doug Sparks

I told the story the other day of how my teacher would have to perform 25 reps left and right of each groundwork technique before his teacher would show him the next thing. There's sort of two schools of thought on drilling and repetitions. Some folks define an explicit goal - a number of reps - for their practice. Other teachers say, "Here's this drill. Let's do it for a while."
Both methods have advantages and disadvantages. Setting an explicit goal for reps tends to make you learn personal discipline and endurance. With the 'do it for a while' method it can be too easy to say, "Whew, that was a good one! What's next?"
But on the other hand, the 'do it for a while' method is more adaptable to each student's needs. Not every student needs or can handle 25 reps left and right of every technique. Sometimes in order to get the message of the lesson across you might want each student to do 3-4 reps to get the feel of the thing just so they have a context to understand what you are going to say next. In such an instance it can be too easy to get sidetracked on some technical tangent and get so exhausted with repetitions that the students can't understand what the instructor is saying anyway.
I must admit, I am definitely a "do this for a while" teacher, and I think I have developed over the years a pretty good intuition for guiding the class this way. But I definitely see the need for repetitions (and lots of them) to produce discipline and endurance as well as a deep technical knowledge. Perhaps a happy medium for me would be a normal practice mode of 'do this for a while' but with explicit repetition drill days.

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  1. Thanks for crediting my photo and I'm glad you could use it. Great post!

  2. I think its a matter of using both methods. I have always used the rep method for Uchi Komi and Nage Komi. Not out of preference but habit I suppose, however when working on a combination using the heavy bag I have always used rounds (do it for a while) method. Of course this changes ever now and then, depending on the indiviual and there needs. Good post.


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