In the ninja’s martial arts, just as with everything else in life, experience brings many benefits. The more a person does something, the greater the level of confidence, understanding, and proficiency they will have with that ‘thing.’ This is a truth but as with any medicine, is often hard to swallow.
If we are to become truly skilled at our martial art – able to use our skills in an actual confrontation should one ever arise – we must be able to do our techniques as easily as we tie our deer hunting shirt or lift a fork to our mouths to eat. And, unfortunately, two classes a week will NOT bring about this mastery and skill.
True mastery comes from practice – the homework done when we’re away from class to perfect our skill. Just as with any other schooling, homework is necessary to really get good at what it is that we’re trying to learn. This is something we cannot get in the classroom where the learning takes place. Practice is the constant experience derived from having done the techniques repeatedly. It is the magnifying glass which spots the errors that must be fixed for the technique to work quickly, efficiently and correctly.
The basics – the bare essentials – that every technique or kata form is based on must be drilled over and over until we can do them without thinking. The basic skills – the Kamae, strikes, rolling and breakfalling skills, and the basic footwork patterns – must be practiced over and over and over and over and . . .
Remember that, your body tells on you. The instructors can see who practices at home and who does not. We can tell by the questions asked (or not asked) and by the corrections that have to be made.
We know, because we have been where our students are now. We have had…
- The same time constraints
- The same familial obligations
- The same concerns with job, travel, and money
- The same practice area limitations; and…
- The same excuses…
… given in the hopes that our teachers will somehow see our plight as more forgiving than others and ‘lighten-up’ on us so we won’t have to work so hard.
Your teachers know that what they’re giving you in class is only the tip of the iceberg. They know that you cannot possibly learn all there is to know in just a few short classes a week. They know how hard mastery is and, most important of all, they know what you will be up against if you should ever need your training to save yourself or someone you care about.
We do live in a relatively peaceful society, and chances are most of us will never need to use our skills in defense of ourselves or others. But, who knows if he or she will ever be the target of a brutal attacker? And, most importantly…
…who wants to have a black belt and not be able to survive if an attack does happen, and…
…”Tag – you’re it!”
write by Eunice