An excerpt from "75 Down Blocks - Refining Karate Technique" by Rick Clark
Pareto's 80/20 law is a statistical discovery I think has considerable relevance in the study of the martial arts. In brief, over 100 years ago, Vilfredo Pareto discovered a relationship that manifests itself repeatedly in larger systems.
In its most basic form, Pareto's 80/20 law states you will get 80 percent of your results from 20 percent of your effort. In the business world, for example, it implies you'll get 80 percent of your business from 20 percent of your customers. In the academic world, it implies you'll get probably get 80 percent of your research results from 20 percent of your time spent in the library, or 20 percent of your fieldwork.
When you first encounter this 80/20 rule, you may get the mistaken idea the ratio between effort and results should be exactly 80/20. This is not really the case; the actual percentages vary from case to case. Rather, this ratio should be thought of as a guide, designed to remind you of the disproportionate effect of effort compared to results.
As you begin to recognize the 80/20 patterns that exist around you, the application of Pareto's rule will become apparent in everyday situations - in personal relationships, financial dealings, and national and international events.
In this chapter, I hope to demonstrate a few ways in which you can use the 80/20 rule to help you analyze and improve your martial arts training.