Have you ever heard of a motor engram? Motor engrams are your ticket to the awesome movement speed you've always wanted. Notice I said, "movement speed," not "speed." As I said in The Book of Speed for Martial Artists: "There is much more to speed than just moving fast." But, moving fast is vitally important to effective speed and it's what everyone wants.

Most martial artists believe that movement speed is only earned through reps and sweat. For the most part, that's true. But, if you really want to get the job done, you need a few more ingredients. Science can give us the recipe for making those reps, and that sweat, much more effective.

Science tells us that all movement is based on reflexes. When you were born, reflexes were all you had. That's why someone had to stick your pacifier in your mouth for you. Learning to pop it into your mouth yourself required your brain to learn how to organize and utilize those reflexes. In fact, all complex movement is the result of our thinking brains learning to organize and control reflexes. The result is a bunch of memories in your head that tell your body how to move.



When we are first learning to move (like your first day in the dojo) it's our conscious minds that are doing the work. Things happen slowly, and we are clumsy and inaccurate. There is no memory of how to move in the specific ways we are being asked to, and we are required to think and rethink what we're doing. Over time, the memories of these movements become so strong that the knowledge becomes nearly hardwired.

fsathletics.com

Consider reaching for a doorknob. Do you have to think about using a doorknob? Do you take a couple of practice attempts? Do you measure your distance? No. You do it with zero thought. Your conscious mind has been bypassed and the memory takes care of the motion all by itself. That is a motor engram (aka muscle memory), and that's the level you want your martial art skills to reach. A motor engram is a motion that your brain fires off without the conscious mind being involved. That is what makes it incredibly fast.

Developing motor engrams happens over time and through lots of those reps we talked about earlier. However, it's not just reps. Scientists who study human movement tell us that developing a motor engram requires those reps to be precise and at the power and speed with which you intend to use them. You're building a dedicated memory in your brain, so you don't need anything involved that doesn't pertain to that memory. You develop fast movement by doing what you intend to do.

Many martial artists believe that their skills are enhanced by adding variables such as an unstable surface. Science tested that and found that you will indeed become better at performing on the unstable surface – however, those skills don't translate to a stable surface. That's because you developed motor engrams not suited to the task.

Pick a single breadwinner technique. Put in a couple of hundred reps per training session as precisely as possible for the next few months. Fire it at the speed and power that you intend to use it and deliver it from a practical and solid stance. As much as possible, don't think about it consciously. Just let it fire. Over time you will find that your technique is firing all by itself and that's as fast as you will ever be.

SUBSCRIBE TO BLACKBELT MAGAZINE TODAY!
Don't miss a single issue of the world largest magazine of martial arts.

Do you want to maximize your self defense skills? Learn the game of combat chess and most importantly the queen of all moves.

Allow me to intercept those who would object to the title of this article. I'm not claiming that there's a secret move, shortcut or hack that will give you the edge in any fight. Even if there was an ultimate weapon or strategy, you likely would avoid it because you
Keep Reading Show less

Munk Pack Protein cookies are a perfect on-the-go or post-workout snack that helps keep you full, provides nutrients you need, and also lets you enjoy a sweet treat without feeling the guilt

Keep Reading Show less

By now, you've probably heard all about 52 Blocks — especially because we featured the martial art and its most visible proponent Professor Mo, aka Mahaliel Bethea, on the cover of our magazine last year. Just in case you haven't, know that 52 Blocks is a self-defense system that was spread in American prisons but that actually originated in Africa, according to Professor Mo. That's the reason we titled our June/July 2019 cover story with him "Art of Africa, Not Art of Incarceration."

Keep Reading Show less

Looking for an all-around reusable water bottle? H2O might be something you should consider!

The half a gallon (2.2L for you metric people) is the perfect amount to take with you to your training session and keep you hydrated the whole time. It will also keep your water nice crisp and cold with it's think 5mm Neoprene insulation, oh and did we say it has a built in phone holder for you to not having to worry about keeping your phone on the floor and being stepped on, but it does not stop there, it also has a slot for your cards and another place to hold your keys! Yup, your phone slides right into a small sleeve on the side of the bottle and keeps it nicely tucked away! The bottle is also BPA and BPS free and FDA approved Food Safe Water Gallon Jug.

These bottles come in many amazing designs and are reasonably priced at just $25.99 check them all out online at www.h20capsule.com

Don’t miss a thing Subscribe to Our Newsletter