Get Out of Your Head
Building Martial Memroy
No time for checklists! Just Move!
The first category — declarative memory — is where humanity falls short of computing’s recall abilities in speed and accuracy. This is the realm of grocery lists, addresses, and emails. Many martial arts instructors fall into the “if-then” trap of teaching. As declarative memory is closer to our analytical surface, it’s what we think of when we talk about memory. The temptation is to leave training to our declarative memory, and not dig deeper. “IF” there is a high attack, “THEN” use a high block. On its face, this is a fine statement.
However, “remember” that this area of memory is where we are weakest. When under attack, it takes far too long for declarative processes to: recognize a dangerous situation; confirm a threat; identify an attack; assess the attack; recall defense options; link defensive options to identified attack; choose the appropriate defensive option; and activate the appropriate defense technique. To be effective in martial arts, that entire sentence has to occur BEFORE the reality of the “IF.” If it seems impossible, don’t worry, it is
Implicit memory is the realm of emotions, peripheral vision, feelings, reflexes, and autonomic responses. There is no “if” in this realm, rather a memory-triggered procedural response that unleashes your movements with blinding speed.