In martial arts we would do 100 repetitions of basic movements in order to get it to the point of reactionary when needed. I will never forget the day when I kicked a buddy in the face for slapping me in the back of the head playfully. At the time I was competing and my teacher would have us doing those kicks all day, every day, in an attempt to remove conscious thought (over-thinking things) and let the moves flow whenever they were needed.
What I didn’t realize back then is how many of life’s little things involved the same process. We commit things to memory and then we execute whenever we need them, it is the same in everything and the people who are best at it seem to retain the information better than the rest of us.
In competitive video games the same holds true of muscle memory; you may laugh at the nerds playing their little games for money but many of the professional game players woodshed hours upon hours upon hours to make sure that they can execute moves at a mere thought.
Take a look at Street Fighter legend Daigo Umehara in this video – it doesn’t even take you knowing how to play this game to appreciate the difficulty in it’s execution, just listen to the crowd…
That sequence of blocks that led into the final comeback probably took Umehara no less than 6 months of grinding to place in his arsenal. Most players of that game–no matter how hard they try–couldn’t replicate that sequence let alone call on it in the biggest tournament for that game.
Umehara has legendary muscle memory… many Street Fighter players have it. The same stuff comes about with sports, Serena Williams beasts her opponents due to her knowledge of the game combined with raw talent and the muscle memory that comes from the millions of serves and volleys she’s done in practice.
Grind until it’s 2nd nature…
So remember – whenever you want to excel at something you need to train, train, train and train some more; even when you’re bored, even when you think you’re ready and even when you ARE winning. Daigo Umehara practices Street Fighter moves 6 hours a day most of the year, Serena Williams gets it in daily when she isn’t crushing the competition on tour.
What I have found is that many of us wannabes don’t train like the pros yet expect to get to where they are. The greatest samurai in Miyamoto Musashi studied the way of the sword for over 2 years in a forest before coming back to civilization to destroy over 60 opponents with only a stick… How’s that for muscle memory?
So train, train, train… and remember to prime your muscle memory so the next time you need to parry a full ultra against Chun-Li it can happen with little thought.See some words or phrases that you don't understand? Check out The Dragon's Lexicon.