Martial Arts • Fighting Science • 4 • Yin ☯ Yang of Technique vs. Instinct

As discussed in last week’s post, combat training is about learning new degrees of freedom – adding new maneuvers or techniques that have never been tried before. But how to learn a new move well enough that it becomes natural or instinctive? Enter the 100-1000-10000 rule:
  • Mechanics If you do a technique 100 times you will understand its mechanics. Your brain will comprehend how to do it correctly, and why the movement is valuable.
  • Natural When you do a technique 1000 times it will become natural. This threshold is passed when the movement feels right in sparring. The movement becomes part of your combat portfolio.
  • Instinctive Once you do a maneuver 10000 times then it enters your subconscious. The movement can now be executed without thinking about it.

The 100-1000-10000 rule is fundamental to combat sports
and applies to the highest levels of professional fighting.

It’s important to clarify that these movements must be done correctly for it to successfully traverse the 100-1000-10000 evolution. Counting doesn’t begin until the technique is done correctly. Doing a maneuver incorrectly leads to bad habits that are hard to break.

If fighting requires surprise and spontaneity, why practice repetition? A fighter needs repetition in order for a new technique to enter the subconscious. Once that is achieved a fighter no longer needs to think of the technique because it’s apart of them. It’s as close to “instinctive behavior” as possibly achievable.

Instinctive maneuvers are the end-game because the moment a fighter “thinks” of performing an attack, defense, or anything in between – then telegraphing occurs and time is lost. An experienced fighter can exploit this delay. Reactionary measures in times of stress, emotion and chaos are worsened, if not completely lost. Practicing a move mitigates this weakness because the “thinking” component is removed from the fighting equation and the movement becomes instant.

Techniques are abandoned in the midst of chaos
and requires confidence and experience
to regain composure.

Repetition is a challenge for students, and especially taxing on millennials. In a one hour session, even 50 reps challenge the patience of students. Reaching 1000 requires grit, endurance, and resources that fall amongst the most dedicated. Striving for 10000 is reserved for the elite among us.

To finish off, it’s worth mentioning that the 100-1000-10000 rule can be easily applied to other disciplines – e.g. dancing, learning a musical instrument, software development to name a few examples, and can be a representation of time (100-1000-10000 hours) with the same effect.

Martial Arts • Fighting Science Series

If you would like to read more articles in this “Yin Yang of Fighting Science” series, check out these posts:

• 1 • Yin Yang of Technique vs. Power
• 2 • Yin Yang of Speed vs. Timing
• 3 • Yin Yang of Fighting Styles
• 4 • Yin Yang of Technique vs. Instinct
• 5 • Yin Yang of Empty vs. Full Cups
• 6 • Yin Yang of Slow vs. Fast
• 7 • Yin Yang of Perception vs. Reality
• 8 • Yin Yang of Fear vs. Confidence
• 9 • Yin Yang of Threes
• 10 • Yin Yang of Burden vs. Privilege
• 11 • Yin Yang of Anticipation vs. Surprise
• 12 • Yin Yang of Compliance vs. Resistance
• 13 • Yin Yang of Attacking vs. Defending
• 14 • Yin Yang of Fighting 360°
• 15 • Yin Yang of Teachers vs. Students
• 16 • Yin Yang of Physics vs. Physiology
• 17 • Yin Yang of Vulnerability vs. Opportunity
• 18 • Yin Yang of Martial Arts vs. Combat
• 19 • Yin Yang of Sport vs. Violence
• 20 • Yin Yang of Rhythm vs. Random
• 21 • Yin Yang of Stability
• 22 • Yin Yang of Strategy vs. Tactics
• 23 • Yin Yang of Instinct vs. Reason
• 24 • Yin Yang of Unstoppable vs. Immovable

• Fighting Science • Fighter’s Curve
• Fighting Science • Fighting Zones


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Gabriel is a seasoned sales and marketing expert with over 25 years in senior positions at Motorola, VeriSign (acquired by Symantec in 2010 for 1.25 billion US$), SecureWorks (acquired by Dell in 2011 for 612 million US$), and Cognitive Security (acquired by Cisco in 2013 for 25 million US$). He is a blockchain entrepreneur, with strengths in international business strategy.

Gabriel has a bachelor’s degree in Engineering Physics from McMaster University in Canada and expert knowledge in crypto incubation, cloud computing, IT security, and digital video technology. Gabriel also runs his own company, Euro Tech Startups s.r.o.

Hobbies include photography, video production, motion graphics, digital graphics, photo restoration, carpentry, martial arts, traveling, blogging, and trying to be better than yesterday.

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