View Full Version : Can you learn quality MA in a one hour class?

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10/24/2008 7:45pm,
I've been reading a book recently on running a martial arts school, and it has brought up a question: is it possible to teach a quality martial art in a one hour class? I am specifically interested in adult classes here - obviously, kids classes are fine at an hour. But for an adult class - is one hour, say twice a week, enough time to warm up, learn some techniques, roll or spar, or whatever? My Muay Thai and grappling instructors are constantly bitching that their one and a half hour classes aren't long enough- they'd prefer two hours. On the other hand, the local Extreme Couture gym is mostly 60 minute classes.

So, I am putting this out to the Bullshido community for consensus: is a one hour class sufficient time to properly learn a martial art?

10/24/2008 8:08pm,
Like many things, it depends on the goal.

One hour is fine for your average hobbyist, beginner and local competition hopefuls.

If you are going to compete at an advanced division or pro, you need a lot more. But then I hope you already knew the second part.

10/24/2008 8:15pm,
One-hour classes can also fall into a couple of different training schedules. For instance, I might go to my gym for two or three one-hour classes a week. What I actually tend to do is go three times a week, but go to two one-hour classes running back to back. It's still not the same as a single two-hour class (the structure is obviously different), but the total amount of [warm-up plus] training is the same.

Just Guess
10/24/2008 8:40pm,
One hour just isn't enough for me unless it's a balls to the walls randori marathon class. Otherwise I want to have time to do some warmup and drills, hopefully learn something new, then do some randori. You can't really do that in one hour and maintain decent quality.

The Fake Macoy
10/24/2008 8:49pm,
In my opinion, if you want to do any sparring you need more than just an hour a class. For beginners, an hour would be fine just to go over a few techniques, but it's not enough if you add in rolling.

10/24/2008 8:52pm,
I'd have to agree with Askari. My ideal MA schedule would be 1 hr sessions 2-3 days a week with a longer one on Saturdays, seeing as that would work well with my workout schedule. Alas, the McDojos in my small suburbian town shut down on the weekends like everything else. Except the bars.

Maybe I should just spend my Satudays sparring at the local pub...

Vieux Normand
10/24/2008 10:15pm,
What's your definition of "a quality martial art"?

Tied in with the above, what are you going to be using your MA for: sport (hobby or pro), exercise, personal defense, training for LEO or other occupations where use-of-force is part of the job? Answers to the survey may well depend on those and other variables.

10/24/2008 10:43pm,
1.5 really should be the minimum. The classes at my school are only an hour and it always feels way too cramped and a warm up isn't included in that. If you devote 20 mins to sparring thats only 5 rounds of padwork each if you have your class holding pads for eachother... nowhere near enough.

10/24/2008 10:53pm,
Where I go. we normally have shorter classes (45 minutes or an hour) but back to back as part of a defined sequence. One hour classes by themselves can work for me, but I normally warm up for 10-15 minutes before class. By itself, that would be pushing it.

10/24/2008 11:02pm,
It depends. Take BJJ for example. If you do a pretty balls to the wall 15-20 minute warmup. Do some basic techniques for 15-20, maybe 2-3 techniques that flow well together, 10 minutes of situational drilling (for that particular technique) and 10 minutes of some good training (i.e spar for 2.5 minutes and immediately to the next partner for a total of 4 rounds) and you could fit something it. It actually sounds like a great idea.

Just like children, adults can be attention deficit as well. Anything more than an hour for some adults (especially if they have kids or work issues that are constantly on their mind) causes them to space. You are basically doing for them the same thing you are doing for the children, keeping their mind occupied and providing some good training. Are they going to get as much out of it as the person who does it for 1.5 to 2 hours each session...no.

Look at the BJ Penn example. I remember reading an article where BJ Penn stated that he would train two hour in the morning and two hours in the evening every day, 6 days a week (I think it was the forward in his book, it was posted on www.victorybelt.com when their website had a forum and whatnot). It took him three years to get his black belt. Now look at most people who train 1.5-2 hours about three times a week average. In order to get in the same amount of training hours going two hours per day, three days per week, you would need to train for twelve years.

It puts the concept of time into perspective. It also puts BJ's time to black belt into prospective as well. Not knocking it in any way. The fact is, many of us look at the road to BJJ black belt in terms of years. What if we should be looking at it in terms of "training hours"???

10/24/2008 11:02pm,
I don't even think an hour and a half is really long enough. I prefer at least two hours.

10/24/2008 11:04pm,
My Muay Thai class is designed for self-defene as far as I'm concerned, and despite that your average person will feel like fainting or a heart attack.

To me it comes nowhere near Highschool Wrestling conditioning on a good day.

So I voted for the "Anything less than two hours is for posers" option. **** yeah, I always take the Muay Thai Class and the BJJ class.

When we had a new BJJ purple belt for an instructor I hated it...now I love it. The guy's really nice, it's just that 1 hour wasn't enough with all the **** he was adding.

The best part is that we've come so far as to do 30-45 crunches, triangles, and side crunches with 3 1:00-1:30 planks between them.

If I went to Extreme Couture I'd live in that Gym so long as they allowed me, assuming I didn't do Pro Training.

My ideal class would be:

15 min cardio or bodyweight exercises to warm up

25 min stretching with advanced Yoga or Contortion

1 hour pad/mitt work

15 min abs

45 min Wrestling sprawl, shoot, and changing levels with push ups

30 min kettlebells

1:30 hour BJJ- 50 min technique and the rest rolling.

10/24/2008 11:20pm,
Pretty much all the training I've had for the majority of my training has been 1 hour of class and then however much time I spend doing stuff on my own, sparring, hitting the bag, etc. Do you know how I totally honestly learned most of my technique? Watching fights. I've actually learned far more from watching fights and then trying to alter my technique based on what I see the fighters doing that seems to work, then testing it in sparring of course.

I'm not a grappler so I won't comment there, but as far as striking goes the most you can really learn from a class is the very basics so it's not really necessary to do a class for 2 hours. These days I do go to 2 hours of class Monday-Wednesday, though this is primarily so I can get a longer workout (1 hour of class doesn't generally feel like much of a workout to me and I'm too much of a slacker to really bust ass on my own as far as physical fitness type stuff goes).

Bill Danosky
10/24/2008 11:38pm,
An hour and a half is just right for me. I can get enough ass busting done to tire me out if that's what we're doing that night. If it's learning techniques I can absorb well for about ninety minutes before I use up all my braincells and start wandering off mentally.

But I've trained under a lot of senseis and they all knew more than I did. So I just show up and do what I'm told.

10/24/2008 11:57pm,
My friend always talks about the good ol' days when his teacher had the class doing 3hour long classes... before they started sparring. I have to admit I am jealous. All weather out in a park.

I think I have heard somewhere that 1 hour training sessions are optimal... or max for some reason... I can't figure out why though. Anyone have any real info on the health aspect of training for more than an hour?

10/25/2008 12:00am,
Does that 1hr include a warm-up? I think if the warm up is bypassed completely or done on your own time prior to the class then yes 1hr of technique is fine. Application and drilling is another story though, this is why I feel that 90 minutes to 2hrs is the ideal. Both the technique/application (drilling/sparring) go hand in hand and I don't think either one should be overlooked over the other.