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Practice, Practice, Practice

I am writing this blog to my students, but it will apply to all students of the art.

The key to success in Karate is practice. A student who practices diligently will improve. It may take time and it may take effort, but with practice success is assured. The student who practices the hardest, for the longest time, gains the most. Chotoku Kyan is an example of a sensei who emphasized the value of practice. Despite his small stature, he became one of the most skilled sensei of his time. He used to say that if one student practiced three time, he would practice seven times!

Some students learn very quickly and do not seem to need practice. Actually, these students need practice just as much as other students. Their understanding may be shallow and in time, their weaknesses will catch up with them, especially when they are asked to teach.

As a sensei, I can tell when students have practiced at home or when they actually are coming to the dojo to practice. It is very obvious.

We always say that the student should practice at home and come to the dojo to learn. The dojo is not a place for practice -- it is a place for learning, questions, and corrections. Also, a student is in the dojo for only a few hours each week. He has much more time to practice at home.

Let's say that I teach the first few movements of a kata to a group of new students. The next few days, one student practices the movements 20 times each day. In three days, he will have practiced 60 times. Let's say that another student does not practice at all.

The next class, I will review the movements. The student who practiced might need some corrections but will be ready to move on to the next sequence. The student who has not practiced will not be ready to move on and may have forgotten the beginning movements!

The student must be willing to practice at home and come to class ready to learn.

There is a saying that "practice makes perfect." I would say that through diligent practice, a student devotes himself to the pursuit of excellence. This is a lifelong pursuit.

Practice, practice, practice.


Charles C. Goodin