Friday, May 9, 2014

Why Are Basics So Important In Martial Arts

Do I have to practice this again?  I know how to do it already. Why can I not learn the next punch and the next form?  Do I still have to do the things that WHITE BELTS do?!?

Have you ever felt annoyed with your instructor for having you drill basics when you already know them? You are not alone. Basics again? is a common question asked by martial arts students. In fact, you could probably handle some of the more advanced techniques but slow down grasshopper; your sensei has good reasons for drilling on basics.

After all, who doesn't remember the classic scene in the movie The Karate Kid where Mr. Miyagi has Daniel-san wax on and wax off for hours on end to the point of frustration? Daniel-san is made to polish cars and paint fences until he cannot take it any more. At this point Mr. Miyagi steps in to enlighten Daniel-san as to the value of what the young apprentice has just been practicing. Suddenly Daniel-san understands the value of basic training and fundamentals!

Think about building a house.  If we had all four walls already measured out and put together and we rested one wall against the other securing each in place we could make other people think that our house was secure.  Until the first strong wind came!  Suddenly the house is blown down and nothing is left.  What do we do?  We leave and move somewhere else and try to rebuild.

This whole scenario is much like the Karate student who neglects basics and thinks they know it all.  They stay with one club for a while and then they move on to another club, looking for the latest "silver bullet" technique.

So what should we do with our house?  First, it is essential to lay the foundations; then build the walls, add the roof, paint it, furnish it, make the outside look good and then live in it. Sometimes we live in our house before any of the inside and outside necessities are done!

In the same way martial arts practice must begin with basics.  With basics, we lay the foundations of our practice.  Through consistent practice and hard work, we add the roof so that we have a more sturdy structure for our house (our martial arts).  Then we paint the house and furnish it (we make our martial arts look good).  Then we make the outside of the house look good (we further polish our martial arts and iron out the inevitable kinks).

Finally, we live in our house and begin to appreciate its beauty and its value in our lives (now we are able to enjoy and apply our knowledge that we have gained through our training).

Hopefully we live in our house for a long time and we gradually feel more and more at home and more and more comfortable with our surroundings (now we are beginning to have a deeper understanding of martial arts and its application to our lives).

I hope that you live in your house for many years to come, or if you move, I hope that you appreciate the time and effort it takes to build a house.  Building your martial arts practice is the same!  It takes a lot of time and a lot of effort and a lot of practice of basics to make it strong!

Good luck and best wishes on your journey in martial arts.

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