Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Six years ago or so a former Chief of mine wanted to implement a new policy he labeled SMOTED or Six Minutes Of Training Every Day.  As you know I’m all about training so I was interested to hear what this SMOTED was all about.  Unfortunately it wasn’t so much about tactics or quality policing.  It was more about your Sgt. reading you one chapter of the policy manual every day.  A concept this Chief learned at a management (notice I didn’t say LEADERSHIP) class.  After your Sgt. read you the policy you had to sign a sheet stating that you were “SMOTED”.  That way if in the course of fighting crime the Chief decided you violated policy in any way it would be easier to take disciplinary action against you.  That’s not training, that’s not leadership, and it was a kick in the balls to moral.  So I started SMAKED.  Several Minutes Of Ass Kicking Every Day.  One topic a week trained for 10 – 15 minutes at roll call or shift change.  Control Tactics, Reloads, Malfunction Drills, these kind of things. 

Recently Jonny Figgis asked me:
With regard to repetitions, you have only eight hours a year to train your guys and you have to make sure they are functional by the time you finish with them. You’ve probably heard the old martial saying “It takes 10,000 repetitions to master a technique but 100,000 to own it.” What’s your opinion on this given your limited time to train people who will no doubt have to use it at some stage in the year. Is the idea of thousands upon thousands of repetitions to be able to use something in the real world a crock of shit?”

Well yes and no.  I think that 100,000 rep line is used by a lot of Dojos who want students to continue to pay year after year in arts that take 20 years to gain proficiency.  If we took that approach in the Military and Law Enforcement communities all rookies would be 40 years old (training from 20-40) before they hit the streets.

However, teaching a few simple, natural , gross motor techniques that work for most situations, with as many reps as possible, in as close to actual conditions as possible has been a proven training method since the Romans (training is bloodless war, war is bloody training)

So let’s do some math to help me make my point
8 hours training per year
- 1 hour lunch
- 1 hour for breaks
= 6 hours or 360 minutes

Let’s say you work an average 3 shifts per week
X 52 weeks in a year = 156
X 10 minutes of SMAKED = 1,560 (roughly 3 x as much training)

Also training for several minutes every day is better for long term mastery of a skill than cramming 8 hours, never studying again for a year then cramming for another 8 hours.

OK so how is this useful for readers that aren’t cops or commandos?  Develop for yourself simple training drills that reinforce quality mechanics of what ever skills you want to master.  Do these drills 10 – 15 minutes every day, no matter what.  You will be amazed at the results. 

Example – the greatest shooters in the world spend exponentially more time doing dry firing drills than they do actually shooting on the range.

If you do this already please leave a comment with the drills you do, and maybe a brief explanation of how you do them.  If you don’t and want to start leave a comment with questions and information on the skill you wish to improve.

Remember the world is your Dojo, always be training.


  1. Not sure where I hear or read this, but if my memory serves me right the optimal length of time to study for memory retention is in 30 minute blocks with a 15 to 30 minute nap. Not sure if this works on physical skills.

  2. I am not able to go to the dojo as often as I like and have realized that I needed to take control of my own training.

    I get to work each morning and go through all of the Goju Ryu Katas that I know. Eventually I will need to change it up to actually learn deeper lessons but at this point, I think it is a step to just get through them all.

    My wife and I are not able to go to the gym once I get home. So, we started doing Julian Michaels 30 day Shred (sounds like training you would like).

    I make it to class when I can which at this point feels more like icing on the cake because I get the main portion of my training done earlier in the day.