Again, Again, Begin Again

A couple of weeks ago a friend of mine pointed me to a great article about how all training is not created equal.  The gist of the article is that that mindless repetitive practice without specific goals, metrics and feedback doesn’t guarantee improvement — it might even make you worse.

And then last Thursday, during martial arts practice, something…”broke.”  That may not be the right word.  I don’t know how to explain it.  I didn’t snap, but it was close.  My temper flared and fire flew into me.  I suppose I contained it well enough — nobody hurt, no harm, no foul, apologies accepted — but I was very upset and disappointed in myself.

Had I been a beginner I would say my control was good.  Had I been merely an advanced student of five or ten years, I’d say my control was mediocre.  But for a martial arts master who’s celebrating his 30-year anniversary in the martial arts this year, my performance was unacceptable.

I know that I can never achieve perfection.  But I also know that if I don’t continuously strive for perfection I won’t even get close.  I must complete as many cycles as possible of the “practice, test, and grade” cycle.  The usual sort of bad grade requires a run-of-the-mill correction.  But a catastrophic failure requires a more drastic correction, perhaps even a punishment.

In Cabal Fang we don’t wear uniforms and we are skeptical of belts, certificates, certifications, and other outward signs of achievement.  Elders like myself are forbidden from advertising unless club membership is less than 12.  We’re only at 7 active members at the moment, so technically I’m allowed to advertise.

But after my loss of control last week, I felt it necessary to drain away some ego fuel by confessing my mistake on this blog and by stripping away a badge of pride.  So I took the window decal off my truck.  For good.

Try again, again and again — and if you fail, begin again.

“Seek not to blindly follow in the footsteps of the men of old, but rather continue to seek out what they sought.” – Matsuo Bashō (1644-1694)

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