Incremental Learning

You won’t learn fully learn a technique in one attempt.  Revisit a technique over time to add in the details you weren’t ready for earlier.

Every technique is composed of:

  1. a basic set of principles and instructions
  2. advanced, fine-grained details
  3. a near-endless series of variations and predictable defenses.

You can’t realistically learn a technique perfectly the first time around, because you need to grasp the basic principles before you can learn the nuances.  The only way to effectively learn a technique is to repeatedly revisit it, becoming more comfortable and fluent every time.  It’s like learning a language.

In fact, I would go so far as to say that if you are getting techniques right the first time around, it’s a good indication that you’re actually relying on a strength or experience advantage.  Try using the technique on a stronger or more skilled opponent to see if you truly understand it.

For instructors, be aware that you can’t expect students to get techniques right the first time.  To effectively teach a technique, you need to feed it piecemeal to your students, starting with the principles and eventually moving on to the nuances.  Revisit a technique in multiple instalments to ensure it’s being fed to students in digestible chunks.