Muscle Memory and Training
Updated: Mar 8
“Everybody was Kung Fu fighting…those cats were fast as lightning.” – Carl Douglas, “Kung Fu Fighting”
As many a meme has stated, “Surely not everybody was Kung Fu fighting.” I agree! Not everybody was Kung Fu fighting, because most people don’t know how to. Further, most people aren’t “fast as lightning,” because they must think about what to do instead of simply reacting.
If you can ride a bike, throw a football with a spiral, type, or hit a golf ball, you are using automaticity, or "muscle memory." Through repetition of correct technique, you’ve taught yourself to do something automatically so that you don’t have to actively think about it.
In a crisis situation, we tend to default to our lowest level of training. Someone who has practiced drawing and firing a weapon accurately is likely to have far greater success under pressure than someone who does not practice these skills. If you practice basic strikes and releases, you’ll be able to react more quickly (likely while remaining more calm) than someone who does not practice similar techniques.
While martial arts training isn’t the only solution, it can certainly help with mental training and physical techniques that can aid in both situational awareness and self defense. Perfect practice makes perfect.