Mastering an activity – Putting in your 10,000 hours

Malcolm Gladwell in his book Blink states that it takes approximately
10,000 hours at an activity to master it. So if you commit one hour a
day to practicing an activity, it’s going to take you 10,000 days to
find mastery, or about 27 years. Woah, that’s a lot of years.
Fortunately we can probably shave a few off, if you’re a regular class
attendee then you’ve probably got another 4 hours a week in there. If
you hit the occasional workshop or fencing event you’ll probably get
another 8 hours or so in a month. There’s also a ton of evidence that
shows that directed and well coached training is far more effective
counting for as much as 2-5 times the value of non-directed time in
gaining proficiency with an activity. So on a hobby schedule you
might be able to get that mastery level down to 20 years. If you can
put in a couple more days a week, add to your training time, be sure
to pickup a sword every day even for a few minutes, you can probably
shave a few more years off that as well.All that being said, this is still a long journey.

Looking down that long road, at one time in my youth I may have found
it truly daunting or overwhelming. I’d have been too focused on the
destination. But now with a bit more wisdom, I think — great! I’m
glad that I’ve been on this road as long as I have and I still see the
rest of my journey disappearing over the horizon. It’s like being in
the middle of a really great series of books. I don’t know about you,
but sometimes I hate it when i get to those last few pages in a great
novel because I’ll have to leave all my favorite characters behind.
Being in the middle is where I feel most content, I know the
characters, I see the challenges, and there’s so much more cool stuff
ahead. So I’m glad that fencing/wma is like a honking huge series that
I really am enjoying. There’s so much more ahead of me to savour. I
hope you’re enjoying the journey too.

devonboorman Devon Boorman is the Co-Founder and Director of Academie Duello Centre for Swordplay, which has been active in Vancouver, Canada since 2004. Devon’s expertise centres on the Italian swordplay tradition including the arts of the Renaissance Italian rapier, sidesword, and longsword, as well as knife and unarmed techniques.
Read more from Devon Boorman.