W hen I first began writing columns for martial art industry periodicals, I had but one goal in mind; to show that the most basic of happenings in the
martial art school can be turned into a lesson in your everyday life. It should go without saying that the physical aspects, when taught properly, can be applied in a real life situation of self defense. I believe that this is the core of martial arts.
Unless you live in a high crime area or work in an occupation where physical confrontations are high possibility, the average person will experience very little to no physical confrontations at all. Your martial art training is pretty much like auto insurance, you hope you never have to use, but if needed, it is there for you. So when we train our bodies physically we train to perfect the technique so that when we have to use it we do it properly. So at what point does physical training become mental training? To help in this matter there is a three step process to operate in learning something new:
First step - Going through the motions
When learning a new technique or form you need to simply go through the motions. Mirror what the instructor shows you and eventually you will get the gist of what is going on. This is highly depended on repetition. While doing a front kick over and over may seem boring after a
while, you will begin to develop good muscle memory to execute the technique properly.
Second step - Be consistent
Being consistent with a technique’s execution helps you make the movement second nature so that you can execute it without little or no thought, we call this mushin (moo shin) or ‘no mind’ in karate. However, the key to this is that you execute it properly. So always listen for any corrections that the instructor gives you and implement those corrections immediately. Once you reach that level you begin the third step.
Third Step - Make it your own
When you have reached the third step it is time to make the technique or form a part of you. Here is where you mentally look at ways to change the process so that it fits your specific range of motion or strength or speed. You then make those changes in order to not only perfect the technique or form, but do it in a more efficient way.
These steps are not just confined to the school. Utilizing this type of patterned learning can help you achieve a higher level of learning in school or even help you find more efficient ways to allow you to do your tasks at work in a more efficient way. Example, if you start a new project or job you go through the first step, going through the motions, of what the duties will contain. You learn the ropes and eventually get a steady routine on how to execute your responsibilities reaching the second step, be consistent. It is here that you begin the third step, make it your own, of finding more efficient ways to perform. Hopefully these steps will help lead you to promotions or bonuses or simply a job well done.
A martial art at its core is about fighting. We train ourselves to punch, kick, throw, lock and break so if attacked, we can fight and defend ourselves, or others. Any trained monkey can kick and punch, check out YouTube and you will see proof of that. Eventually philosophy has to come into play and with it some deeper lessons that will help us achieve a higher level of learning and execution.