Human brains are fallible. This is well documented. And I want to be clear, I don't mean, "your brain is fallible, but I'm smarter". That's not it at all. My brain suffers the same limitations as everyone else. So it is necessary for all of us to work against those innate biases and fallacies. Awareness of those limitations is the necessary first step.
Here is a series of articles by personal trainer Nick Tumminello on common ways in which our brains will trick us.
And here is a good start to strategies everyone can employ to help avoid these pitfalls.
Tradition Based Training in Martial ArtsMartial arts is a field of athletic endeavor more heavily slanted towards tradition and the past than others. We typically assume that past masters are better than we could ever be and therefore their training must have been the best.
This is a logical fallacy though. It boils down to these two sentences:
1. (Person who I consider a success)* used these methods to succeed.
2. Those methods are the best path to success.
* This person could be an ancient, dead master or just the person you learned from.
Logically, sentence 1 does not lead to sentence 2. However, I frequently see the assumption that it does. However, with this anecdotal observation, we have no way of knowing how the "master" would have fared using different training methods. Perhaps they would have been even better. Without controlled experiments we cannot know.
Thankfully, when it comes to strength training, cardiovascular training and motor training there is a huge body of research stretching back 60+ years. This body of evidence provides a clear guide as to which traditional training practices produce what effects and how efficiently.
And it is usually a matter of what effect and efficiency. One of the most common arguments I get into is folks who think a particular approach is good for strength when, in actuality, it is a good cardio/endurance exercise**. The science does not say, "don't do that!" It simply says that such is good for a particular thing but not another. So, keep doing that traditional cardio work, but add in modern knowledge of effective strength training.
** Usually, folks think a particular approach is good for everything. This is never true. It cannot be true. Biology does not allow it to be true. The way our body works for strength & power versus endurance & cardio are functionally very different.
ConclusionDon't believe your personal experience when it contradicts a solid body of evidence. It is difficult, and humbling, to say, "my experience is says one thing, but the evidence contradicts me, so I must be wrong."
The willingness to admit you are wrong, when faced with a large body of evidence, is important to all of life.