One day, a student asked Chee Soo why he was having to practice a particular move. My Master’s answer was terse and to the point…
Do it 1,000 times and you will know why!
So, was Chee being particularly grumpy and obstructive? I don’t think so.
There is a big difference in understanding something and having that understanding deep within your body.
The only real way to achieve that body wisdom is simple… Practice!
Magic is practice!
– Harry Houdini
We are easily distracted and always looking for something new to learn, something exciting, something deep, secret and mysterious.
If we are not careful we can end up with lots of knowledge but unable to do anything well.
As Chee Soo also said, “If you can do 5 moves well, you can do Tai Chi. If you can do 140 moves badly you can’t.”
To put it another way, a kickboxer I knew kept winning his competitions with the same move, a flying back fist.
Some of the other competitors said he wasn’t really very good because he only had this one technique.
His instructor replied, “Well why don’t you stop him then!?”
The fact of the matter was that they couldn’t. His one technique was so good he didn’t need any others.
Practice the simple stuff
Great instructors/practitioners are forever practising the basics.
I had the honour to be invited to teach on Sensei Sakagami’s Summer School some years ago.
What impressed me about Master Sakagami was that he joined in with the students, performing the basics, doing the boring stuff.
It would have been easy for him to sit out, be important, and just come and teach the advanced techniques, but wisdom comes of knowing that you can only progress on top of sound basics and these only stay with you with constant practice.
So, let’s embrace the boring repetitious bits of our training, practice the simple stuff, and in my next blog I will explain why this isn’t boring after all!