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I'm 20 years old, and currently working as an IT professional (meaning I am busy). I want to learn either Muay Thai or BJJ.

How many times a week is ideal for me to fully learn? Is 2 times a week enough?

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I agree with the others, if you can increase to three, it would be optimal. If you want to compete, 5-6 days a week. –  user1414 Oct 21 '13 at 11:47
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4 Answers 4

up vote 7 down vote accepted

If you go once a week, you'll make very slow progress. If you go twice a week, your progress will be mediocre. If you go three times or more a week, you'll make steady progress. Training five or more times a week is a whole separate level of learning. (If for some reason you're able to train many times a week, make sure you ease into it. Don't over do it in the first week and risk getting injured. It takes time to get the stamina to do five-plus sessions a week.)

Whether it's enough is up to you. Going twice a week can be frustrating because that ends up being the maximum--that is, if something comes up, then it may be only once a week, and your progress backslides.

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Just a small comment. Make sure you do not over do it at first. It takes time to get the stamina to do five sessions a week. –  Sardathrion Feb 28 '13 at 11:17
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Those who can't get in the forth and fifth formal sessions a week can get some of the benefit by doing some solo work. Forms, bag work, footwork drill, and so on. There are whole books on the subject (links to a couple that I have and think are pretty good). You don't in the more learning, but you do forget less between sessions. –  dmckee Feb 28 '13 at 19:05
    
@dmckee Your comment would make a fine answer. –  Dave Liepmann Feb 28 '13 at 19:23
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Expanded version of my comment on Dave's answer

Those who can't get in the forth and fifth formal sessions a week can get some of the benefit by doing some solo work. Forms, bag work, footwork drill, and so on. There are whole books on the subject.1 You don't get the more learning, but you do forget less between sessions.

I also use these solo sessions as an opportunity to do some of the oddball things that people always recommend but are inconvenient in some class formats. Things like:

  • Practice in various footwear and on different surfaces. Doing kicks in boots or forms on loose, wet leaves requires a different mixture of muscles, balance and focus than doing the same things in the dojo.
  • Practice in street clothes.
  • Mixing practice on fine motor control skills with really demanding intensive exercises. Trying to do your basic movements when you're right on the ragged edge of exhaustion can show up some weaknesses you didn't know you had. Take care, however, not to put yourself at risk of a major injury this way.
  • Training in the wet and cold or in the baking sun.
  • Focus. There can be a lot of distractions out there in the world. Can you work with all that going on around you.

1 Links to a couple that I have and think are pretty good, but I have no relationship with the author and no interest in the books.

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As a beginner, you can make really rapid progress 2x/week (lots of material to learn, and you have no place to go but up). But as you get to an intermediate level, 2x will seem like treading water -- it'll keep you in shape and keep your skills sharp, but you won't improve rapidly -- but you'll need 3x or more if you want to keep advancing at a good clip.

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Some years ago I used to go wushu classes about two times a week, It took about a year for me to get to a 'decent' level, where I could do the basics, and a wee bit of advanced stuff. If you want to learn at a more accelerated pace I think you should consider slowly increasing the number of workouts per week.

In my opinion you should start out slow and then increase the frequency of workouts. (I work in the same field as you and I understand the sort of workload). I practice 6 days a week. Here is how I did it:

I started out with wushu, early mornings 4 times a week on Tue, Thu, Sat, Sun. It took about a month to get used to this routine. (Mornings are the best because you are not really missing out on your social or work life.) A month and a half later I started going to Kalaripayattu classes on Mon, Wed, Fri. The result of this is that in two months I've gained the same level of fitness that took me a year earlier.

The key here is variation, I don't do the same exercises everyday. I mix up taolu, sanda, body conditioning, gymnastics, weapon practice and so on.

Later on I plan to introduce soft styles to balance out the hard exercises.

Couple of random pointers:

  • Winters require longer warmups
  • You need one day of rest where you don't even lift a cat.
  • The frequency of practice depends on your level of motivation, your age, health.
  • Having milestones and deadlines helps. You can talk to your teacher about intermediate goals and a road-map for you.
  • I believe in doing the minimal amount of exercise to attain a specific skill. Quality over quantity.
  • Kittens.
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