When I was a capoeirista (way long ago) I was often frustrated that capoeira classes weren't enough. If you weren't a TKD gymnast savant (of which there were depressingly many) you don't just wake up with the upper body strength for a queda de rins much less the coordination. So you gotta put in extra, non-capoeira effort, to make the roda better. How do you include improvement in your hobbies?

Or do you even care? Chip Overclock's keeping up your skills article reminded me of how hard it can be in many professions to improve and expand your skills within the purview of using those skills—if you're spending the nine to five delivering product, you'll fall behind on being able to deliver next year's product if you work in a movable field.

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When I trained in krav, finally the classes were sufficient. Training was designed so more krav classes made you better at krav, and able to take more krav classes (I don't hold it against any of my capoeira mestres for this not being true with them—the goals and philosophies of the styles are very different). Even so, after I started teaching I still trained like a student as well as like a teacher, because I enjoyed gorging myself, and repetition wasn't just beneficial, it felt good.

Now that I'm drawing again, it's not anything like any of the previous times. I'm not just drawing to make the pictures in my head, or to doodle—I'm also practising. I'm deliberately taking steps to stretch and refine my skills. I don't know how well this is paying off, but it IS paying off, and I am getting pretty greedy about the feeling of improvement. What took me so long? Right—fear of art teachers doesn't help...

So, what do you do? And do you do it with an eye to get better? No judgement if you don't—improvement and hobbies don't have to go hand in hand. Improvement doesn't have to be a concern if it's not what you're there for. But if improvement is something you're interested in, and you're a writer/musician/athlete/developer/scientist/cosplayer/any given hobby do you deliberately do anything to get better at it? What? Do you accept any improvement that comes with participation, or do you chase it as a goal in and of itself?

And how's that working out for you?