This Guest Post is by one of the adult students in our dojo (Hikari Dojo), Peerawut Kamlang-ek. He has trained with us for about a year and a half.
“Repetition is the mother of skill!”
I’m sure that many Karate students and people in any practice probably have heard this phrase before. I believe it serves its purpose for motivation and improvement. Therefore, if two students started Karate at the same time, Karate student A who practices a movement 100 more times than Karate student B should be better at that movement.
In my belief that’s not always the case.
Surely, Karate student A might have a higher chance of being more skilled at that movement, but what if Karate student B thinks more about what he’s doing with the movement when he practices? He might not repeat the movements as much as Karate student A, but he slows down, pauses, and rewinds his movements while practicing in front of a mirror. He might also be analyzing his koshi during the process.
I can’t be certain about what other students in the Kishaba-Juku style think, but I find the style challenging in many aspects. The articulating portion of ‘catching’ the mechanics of koshi would be one of these challenges. It is definitely not an exaggeration to say that it could get frustrating during the process of applying the mechanics, especially the bo kata.
Trying to copy the instructor’s and senior student’s movements without thinking about what I’m doing with mine will limit my chances of using and understanding koshi. They can do it, but how are they doing it? What can I do to move like that? I have to emulate them with constant reflection. Interestingly, due to the nature of a small privatized training environment, everybody’s movements and koshi in our dojo are somewhat personalized and different because of our body size and strength.
One thing the Marine Corps is used to doing is reflecting on training, we call it debriefing. Within our platoon, we would do countless amounts of reaction drills to different attacks from simulated enemy troops. The squad and team leaders supervise and points out what could’ve been better in the exercise and encourages his Marines to think about how they could do better.
I try to apply such experience to my individual Karate pursuits.
Before we practice movements we must make sure that what we’re practicing is correct. It’s good that a student consistently trains, but they could also be developing bad habits if they are not thinking about what they are practicing. Consulting our Sensei and fellow students also helps a lot (I always do, especially because I’m a beginner).
With all being said, I believe that there’s always something we could improve on if we choose to incorporate the mental effort, not only in Karate, but in any endeavor.