Within the Internal Martial Arts lore, there is an anecdote that highlights the importance of practice. It says that when Sūn Lùtáng (孫祿堂) was on his deathbed, his students asked him what was the secret for reaching a high level of Kung Fu. As Sūn Lùtáng was unable to speak, he raised his palm and with the other hand, drawn an imaginary character "practice" - liàn (練) on it.
In the introduction of the translation of Study of Xing Yi Quan (形意拳學) by Benjamin Lo, Sūn Jiànyún (孫劍雲), Sūn Lùtáng's daughter, states that the story is apocryphal and false. She goes on to say that it does convey the opinion of Sūn Lùtáng nevertheless. This is also an observation that I had from any serious teacher.
It is a fine reminder of the prime place of practice (練), relegating any other activity to a secondary place. Activity as reading books, watching videos, or writing this blog for that matters, are diversions to the one core activity of the serious practitioner.
However, the story stops short of giving further clues of what should constitute practice: its scope (what kind of exercises? how many styles?), the relative importance of frequency and quantity, how much practice is enough, under what conditions it is wise to practice and not practice, and so on. Some of the more esoteric aspects are sometimes addressed, like the notion of practicing facing north or early in the morning, without however a general orientation on how to practice.
In fact, what I would call the methodology of practice is something that is not systematically approached in the literature and in classes in general. It is particularly hard for a beginner to find himself all alone and decide what she should practice. In my opinion, this point is the main first obstacle for someone that wishes to become a serious practitioner.

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