Sunday, March 15, 2015

Practice Makes Permanant

Greybeard says this in the comments:
"A saying I heard once is:
Practice doesn't make perfect;
Practice makes permanent.

Practice with wise analysis, useful feedback, and application leads to perfect."
A truth that makes your decision making about what you are practicing, how you are practicing, and who is training you crucially important. If I decide to take a gun training course to improve my shooting, I better do my homework. ENDO occasionally brutally fisks people that set themselves up as trainers and clearly teach people dangerous, if not criminally negligent,  behaviors.

The same is true of martial arts. First you have to pick an art and perhaps a style. Then you have to pick an instructor and a school. In the United States, anyone can open a dojo. They may be inadequately trained, they may be unable to teach, or they may simply be a bully, setting up what is a toxic environment that snares new students (at least for a time).

If you have an interest in training, do your research. I am not suggesting what I chose is the "best" in any measurable sense. There will, in all the arts, instructors good and bad. There are other considerations, The school must be close enough that you regularly attend. The atmosphere of the school must be welcoming and new students must be allowed to get into training without fear or hazing. The skill level of the instructors must be high enough to make the effort of training there worthwhile.

If I had to relocate, based on the things I mentioned, I might decide to train in a new art, however difficult starting over might be, just based on the overall qualities of an instructor. Alternatively, if I could relocate to a city of my choice, one of my primary considerations would be the availability of one of the top schools in the art I am already training in.

All of this to say, Greybeard nailed it.


Atom Smasher said...

Sometimes the "feel" just isn't right. I joined Genyokan (Aikido) in Ann Arbor, MI back when I still lived there. Stayed for a couple of years, but I never really fit in. Kushida sensei and his family were stellar and my fellow students were really admirable, but 3x a week for 2 years and I still always felt a little of "I'm on the outside looking in."

When I moved to Minneapolis and found, completely coincidentally, a small-but-growing, fully sanctioned Genyokan affiliate, I signed up immediately, but still felt a little of the same distance. When it then became nigh impossible to attend regularly because of a new work schedule I really didn't exert any effort to compromise, and stopped going. Haven't hit the mat since - almost 10 years.

I miss the effort, the art, and the conditioning, but I don't miss that feeling of "not quite getting it."

Dunno what it was all about really. But sometimes things just don't click.

Old NFO said...

I've never gotten into the marital arts, but the same holds true in the shooting sports. Some instructors are great, others not so much.

waepnedmann said...

Practice does not make perfect.
Only perfect practice makes perfect.

Perfection is not possible.
But, by chasing perfection we catch excellence.

-Vince Lombardi

Archer said...

I studied Shao-Lin Kempo for several years. Then, due to money troubles, had to take an indefinite hiatus (which is still ongoing).

During this hiatus, I self-studied human physiology and kinesthesiology (the study of body movement), and physics. And I learned some things. A lot of things. Things about how kinetic energy is generated by my body during a technique (hint: if you want a strong punch, train your legs and core, not your chest and arms), how that energy is lost through inefficient form, and how to train to maximize the former while minimizing the latter.

I'm now in the process of re-training myself with these principles in mind. In some ways it's easier, because I'm making relatively minor modifications to familiar techniques. In other ways it's harder, because I have to, in the words of Yoda, "unlearn what [I] have learned." But I believe it's worthwhile. My hiatus means I'm not learning new techniques, but my re-training means the ones I have will be refined and re-forged stronger than before.