Thursday, September 18, 2008

Easy to slip

One of the benefits to doing a traditional martial art is that the tradition serves to help prevent the slippage of standards that can be caused by age or boredom.
Face it, as we get older it is harder and harder to do what we used to at the intensity and frequency that we used to. It is easy to slowly, invisibly downgrade your expectations for yourself and your students. You may never catch onto this insidious slippage until it is too late.
Not only advancing age, but boredom can make us slip. Becoming and remaining technically proficient requires repetition, and once you've mastered a skill it can be tempting to move onto something newer and fresher instead of putting in the repetitions required to retain and maintain that skill. Sure you want to keep learning new stuff, but you HAVE to maintain your gains.
In traditional(as opposed to eclectic) martial arts, you typically inherit a class structure and training method as well as a set of skills. Once someone has found a sufficient training routine that works and produces good outcomes, that training routine becomes part of the tradition that is passed down and the students and instructors do the art that way unless they have a really good reason to change it.
This does not stifle reasoned, creative innovation, but it does help prevent slippage of your standards.

1 comment:

  1. This is so true! Repetition can be, well, repetitious. But in terms of martial arts it is the essential ingredient to becoming proficient at your art. Finding the right routing, ah, well, don't we all strive for that?! That is what I love most, though, training over and over until you get it right, and to not get lazy in your moves because you know them!


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