Remember to Stop and Sharpen the Saw.

There is an old story about a woodcutter and a tree. One day a young person was walking by, and asked the woodcutter what he was doing? The woodcutter replied, sarcastically, “I am cutting down this tree!” The young person knew this to be true but was more concerned with the fatigue and exhaustion in the woodcutter’s eyes. The young person then suggested that the woodcutter inspect his saw to help him along. The blade was weathered, dented, and dull and it was obvious to the young person it had become ineffective but not to the woodcutter.

Although the woodcutter could sense this, he did not want to take the time necessary to sharpen his saw; for to him, it would mean taking time away from the task at hand. The young person who appeared wiser, although maybe not as skilled as the woodcutter, pushed back and suggested that he would cut the tree down much faster with a sharper blade.

As karate students, we must look for ways to sharpen our skills to shortcut our path to success. Whether it be that new form, martial arts stance, kick or punch it is imperative to focus on the details that will help you execute the technique more cleanly. Unnecessary angles, distance, and even energy spent that may seem productive now are often counterproductive when applied. So many times, in sparring class you will see a student step up on their kick only to get jammed with a reverse punch. This telegraph, although a small detail tips off the opponent and allows them to make a counter move. When you focus on the details and break the small bad habits you can sharpen your saw and be more effective and efficient.

Summertime training is a great opportunity for students to really focus on little details within their techniques. Having some extra time on your hands can allow you to put in the much-needed repetitions to perfect your karate form. Furthermore, with extra time on our hands, it is easy to get caught up in the lazy days of summer and watch time pass us by. With stripe testing beginning next week let's see if we can really sharpen our saws and get to our goals a little faster than might be expected.

We look forward to seeing a better student in the weeks ahead as we target our next ranks this coming September.

Stay focused, motivated and constantly sharpen your saw!

Sensei Chris

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