Outliers" came out, there has been a lot of discussion about accumulating training time on the clock (or calendar). After all, "kung fu" indicates a skill acquired by hard work over a long period of time. After all, it's so simple and straight forward - just rack up 10,000 hours and voila, you're a master!
My own opinion had been that we only serve to drive ourselves crazy by trying to figure out ways to cram in more and more training time. Budo study after all, is meant to enhance our lives; not replace it. Spending all one's time training in my view, would be a pretty bleak existence.
My view is that the martial art I study is trying to teach me to move in certain specific ways, and if I make that way of moving habitual, then I am reinforcing that, training during every waking moment.
But here below is an excerpt from an article that takes an entirely different direction. It's written by George Leynard, who is a senior aikido teacher. The entire article may be read by clicking here. Please do. It's very thought provoking.
Without getting too technical, what the book said was that, in a complex system like a factory, in order to increase output it is essential to analyze the different factors that went into production and arrive at which is the "limiting factor". Resources can be devoted to all of the other factors with little or no increase in the out, hence the "limiting factor.
If one treats the acquisition of Aikido skills as just such a complex system, with increase in skill level being the "output" desired, one can see how the theory of limits would be a useful way to think about ones training or how one would teach.
If most people were asked what the limiting factor was in their training, I think that most would reply "time". Most folks simply do not have the time to train as they would like. If they only could train more, then they would really be able to take their training to a higher level... But is time REALLY the true limiting factor. Most of the time I would say not.
I believe that the limiting factors for most Aikido folks fall into one of several categories. These all have to do with very basic and fundamental factors which means that they represent true "limiting factors" which, if not corrected make any progress impossible.
A few years ago, Ushiro Kenji Sensei, the Karate teacher was asked what one single thing would he point to that would, if addressed, make Aikido better. He didn't hesitate a second before replying "the attacks". I think that he is absolutely right and I would like to talk about the various issues with our attacks that make them the "limiting factor" for most Aikido practitioners.