I asked one of my personal heroes – Rick Hotton Sensei, of West Wind Dojo about his thoughts on training, specifically: Maintenance, Improvement, and Exploration.  This article shares his thoughts.  

For those of you who don’t know Hotton Sensei, I think he is THE BEST Karate practitioners that’s ever lived.  I also know many of you will disagree with me, including Hotton Sensei himself, because he’s humble that way.  You can argue minute details with me, or just start taking notes from his awesomeness. 

For context, here’s how I defined these 3 things –

Maintenance: Activities to KEEP what you already can do.  Maintenance mode usually applies to:

  • Strength
  • Flexibility
  • Not forgetting forms
  • Speed

Improvement: Activities to incrementally do more than what you can already do.  This can be applied to:

  • Getting stronger
  • Getting more flexible
  • Moving faster
  • Learning a new form

Exploratory: This is trying something new and you have no idea what will come of it.  You can’t visualize end success, because there maybe nothing at the end.  Examples:

  • Learning something completely new
  • Trying to generate power a different way
  • Trying to build up different neural connections and associations
  • Program certain reflexes

Here’s what Hotton Sensei has to say –

To recap, this is what Hotton Sensei does for MAINTENANCE.  For context, Hotton Sensei is 63 years old as of this video.  This is his morning MAINTENANCE workout. 

  1. 100 squats
  2. 100 calf raises
  3. 50 push ups
  4. 50 triceps dips
  5. 100 sit ups
  6. 20 pull ups
  7. Overhead press with dumbbells
  8. Curls
  9. Stretch to near full splits

Many practitioners in their PRIME can’t do that.  Take a minute to let that sink in. 

As for Exploration, Hotton Sensei summarizes the important points to:

  1. Always be on the hunt, don’t wait for the institution to spoon feed you
  2. Enthusiasm
  3. The quality of the questions you ask yourself

There you have it!  A few minutes in the mind of the best Karateka ever lived!!

Videos of Hotton Sensei can be found at their youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCekOUbElva0WIWCkB14nOfA/videos

If you ever have an opportunity to train in Sarasota, or attend one of Hotton Sensei’s seminars, YOU SHOULD. 

What do you think of maitenance, improvement, and exploration?