You must go slow! Slow is the mother of skill!- Professor Remy Presas.
Professor used to admonish those of us who rushed into new techniques. He wanted us to have good form and structure before worrying about speed and structure. Wise words.
I often train slow for smoothness, fluidity, and to self-diagnose any structural defects in my technique. I train slow, smooth, and relaxed to find that 1% improvement.
Even Steve Austin went slow. 🙂
I generally mix up speeds when training. I believe that if you train at only one speed, you are missing out on the benefits of training at other speeds. That said, there are great benefits from slow training.
Here are 6 reasons to go slow:
(1) Work every detail: going slow ensures that you are paying attention to all the details of a technique. Do you have a good stance? Are you moving your feet correctly? Where is your check hand? Are you using the stick in the most optimal way?
(2) Muscle memory: going slow seems to increase “muscle memory.” Taking your time in going through a technique or an anyo seems to increase your retention. If you just rush through something only a few times, how likely is it that you will remember the next day? Take your time. I once timed myself doing 10 repetitions Naihanchi Shodan at slow to moderate speed. It took me all of 5 minutes.
Let me repeat: 10 repetitions of Naihanchi Shodan at slow to moderate speed took me only 5 minutes.
Can you slow yourself down for 5 minutes and just work a technique slowly and patiently? You will benefit greatly from this approach.
See the below video of LeBron James learning spin moves from Hakeem Olajuwon. Notice how he’s taking the time to learn new skills?
(3) See your own mistakes: if you rush through a technique, it is likely you will not notice the multitude of mistakes you are making. If you take the time to go slow, you will then notice the mistakes, big and small, that you are making. Correct those mistakes.
(4) See the possible counters: If your partner is smart enough to go slow, you then have the opportunity to spot possible counters. The key is to stay engaged and actively look for those possible counters. If you are not engaged, you could be missing out on a golden opportunity to train your mind.
(5) See the muscular tension disappear: Often those who rush through a technique think that they are relaxed. When told that they need to relax during a technique, they often furrow their brows and protest that they are relaxed. How many of you have seen this?
Going slow has the magical effect of relaxing the players. Amazing, isn’t it?
(6) Eliminate competition: By going slow, you are focusing on building skill and not on “winning.” A good example of de-emphasizing winning is the slow rolling practiced in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. By taking competition out of training, you are focusing on your skill set.
I often emphasize to my students the need to train skill rather than get competitive.
Although the below video is long, it gives a good overview. The emphasis is on training skill, not on “winning.” It’s all about the training.
Over to you, can you give other reasons for training slow?