Practise Does Not Make Perfect

This past week we were speaking to the kids about the old saying, practice makes perfect. When we asked them does practice make perfect, they inevitably answered yes.

At this point I decided to show them a couple of punches and ask them which one was better. The first punch was very sloppy with a loose chamber and a very unclean execution. After I did the first punch, I then demonstrated the second punch in a much sharper manner with a lot of speed and power. Asking, which one was better they all chose the second punch.

Pushing them a bit I asked them to reconsider if they were sure and I showed it to them again. This time when I demonstrated the second punch, I went a lot slower and held it out so they could really study the form. Finally, one student said "Your thumb is on the inside and you will break it!" Realizing this the other students looked like they had understood the message.

It is true that practice does make a big difference but if you practise the wrong technique, the wrong drill or listen to the wrong answer you are going to end up in the wrong spot. Having a critical eye can make a big difference in short cutting your learning curve and progress. After a brief discussion, the students concluded that practice does not make perfect but rather perfect practice makes perfect. They continued to train and were enlightened with a new approach that will hopefully serve them well for the future.

I am sure there are plenty of ways where we as students can slow down and execute better form and technique. Learning to be humble and not rushing through things is a skill that is hard to master like anything else. As a student and teacher of the martial arts I have come to realize it is important to ask the right questions to get to the right answer. Paying attention to the finer details will make you a stronger martial artist as well as a stronger student in life.

So next time you are in the dojo working your form, try to look for something you have not seen before and add that new element to your perfect practise method. The details do matter and the old saying a person can sit on a mountain but cannot sit on a tack can remind us just how important it is to focus on the little things.

Sensei Chris