Learning martial arts reminds me in certain ways of learning dancing. In both, students learn footwork that should be drilled into muscle memory. Sequences of sorts, footwork and otherwise, are taught and also need to be practiced. I suppose practice is one of the big keys to mastery here, and in that way it’s applicable across the board from martial arts and dancing to badminton and most kinds of physical activity that people want to get good at.
I’ve noticed that it takes me a longer time to learn something when training, which I attribute to my need for detail when it comes to the particulars of a step, strike or maneuver. First I look for details, then when drilling I try to recall all the details at once—proper stance, weight distribution, movement direction, balance, where my attention should be focused—and I think that slows me down in terms of just going with the flow of faster practice. On the plus side, I’m at least making sure that I’m practicing the correct processes and techniques, and I’m putting thought into what I’m doing. The process is the slower part, and after the initial learning and lots of drilling, the satisfying part is when I start getting it and when the moves start flowing.
I’m at the beginning point of learning and absorbing, and hopefully the moves will start coming together with enough practice. It is, like some of the best things, a slow but rewarding process.