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Athletes, martial artists, yogis: the importance of variety in the practice for growth and skills.

Updated: Sep 29, 2020

" Adapt what is useful reject what is useless and add what is specifically your own"

Bruce Lee


When you start a practice a lot of things are new. This is why you get excited, your progression is quick and you implement and develop new skills. Your body receives a lot of dopamine, the reward hormone, and you get this regular boost of motivation and energy. When you are a beginner in something, you can take away a lot from each class. Hence starting is usually very exciting.


Variety and novelty keep you engaged. By exposing yourself to new situations and repeating them, your brain is creating new neural pathways. This allows you to memorise new movements It is there, at the edge of your comfort zone that growth is happening.

It is the time when you memorise a new skill.

After implementing a skill, you will store it in your long-term memory and it will be available whenever you want, for example learning to ride a bicycle. You learned it once and now we can ride without really thinking, the body remembers because of repetitions.

It does not mean that you should stop practising your main practice. Quite the opposite, keep practising it and try something new which can feed it.

Try something complementary :

- If your sport focus on the lower body, train your upper body.

- If you practice striking, start grappling.

- If you work on strength, work on mobility and suppleness.


At some point, you will hit a plateau. This is the time when you don't grow as much as at the beginning. This is the time when you need to persevere and be consistent to overcome this plateau.

Showing up regularly(every day?) for your practice is key to the road towards mastery.

George Leonard explain it wrote a whole book about it:

As an expert aikido practitioner and zen philosophy, Leonard shows us a path towards mastery in our practice as well as in lives.


Practices and skills are transferable.

- The awareness of your body and mind when you practice yoga will be applicable when you practice your sport and in your daily life.

- The mobility of your joints that you develop while practising martial arts will help you to play basketball with less risk of injury.

- The strength you will develop with weight lifting or gymnastics will be applicable and available for you when you practice climbing.

Practices and skills are transferable.

One of the best advice I receive from my design teacher Lionel Suzet was

" Be like a sponge"

Absorb information and keep learning constantly.

If you want to hear more, I invite you to

that I recorded with Ariel Zachow, yoga teacher and host of Compassion as my compass.

(available on Spotify and iTunes, type 'compassion as my compass')

Have a strong and supple week


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