The Body Memory

In martial arts the body memory is a very important part for advanced practitioners by subconsciously recalling certain movement patterns or events. This is usually much faster than thinking and is a vital part in the advanced mastery of techniques and feelings.

What is it?

Each body movement creates a certain pattern or feeling in our brain, recalling this is what we call body memory. When we know how it feels to hold a sword we must not think much about it, or when we know how it feels to do an armlock which usually must be executed quickly.

How do we train this?

The body memory is similar to the long-term memories. One must practice frequently for years to successfully create such a memory. Optimization and evolution of technique is an important part of anchoring this in your long-term memory archive. It does not mean you can use an unchanged technique when you grow 10 years older. With years and experience one must reuse and adapt the body memories.

During growth

As long we are young and still in a growth period we must practice frequently because with the changing body also our body memory must adapt. In the same time this is the most efficient time to anchor this body memories for life. Once we hit maturity the training must be frequent for years to overcome this barrier and there is also a chance that we forget it again.

Only practice over and over again, recalling the right patterns will consciously connect you with your body for long-term. From my experience the recommended time of intense training should be around 1 – 3 years depending on the difficulty and complexity.



  1. Very interesting and informative article, it struck close to home, I am approaching my third year of constant training and I am starting to see my Body Memory is more intense and I am able to see and feel the effects of Body Memory. Thanks for sharing!! Helps me understand the changes of Body Memory.

    Loving Living and Living Loving


  2. Very interesting articule. Does this mean, that after a while the body acto faster then the thought?


    1. If we are in a “Wuji” (Void) near state yes.This also goes hand in hand with the Wuwei concept – free thinking and free moving. Once a movement becomes natural to us we can adapt to the situation.


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