Friday, January 21, 2011

How long should we train for?

Well, according to the Scroll of Water of Miyamoto Musashi's, "the Book of Five Rings":

"A thousand days of training to develop, ten-thousand days of training to polish. You must examine all this well."

So, we should "train to develop" for 2.74 years (about 2 years and 9 months), and then "train to polish" for 27.40 years (about 27 years and 5 months).

Is this what you guys are doing?

Of course, Musashi probably didn't mean this too literally, and even if he did, it's all mired in historical and personal differences. But nonetheless, this is an interesting thought from a man like Musashi. Especially, I think, from a man who is famed for being self-taught for much of his life.

This could also obviously mean we should develop internally what we have been taught for 10x the amount of time we were initially learning the technique.

So besides that notion of exponential individual internalization time, in our common era in the practice of budo, or actually any art for that matter, does this timeline mean anything to you or your practice? Do you have any abstract timelines you think of often?

Personally, as someone still very early on in the path, these timelines are increasingly frustrating for me. Especially because my mind wanders to this concept all the f&%$#&g time.

Still interesting though I think.


  1. Interesting. Id missed that in musashi. More interesting... It takes about 2.5 years to get someone to shodans skill, and the really really skilled masters I've met had about 30 years practice when I met them.

  2. That sounds about right to me. Of course that is training everyday. I think that is why so few people get to higher ranks - most don't invest in the days.