Monday, May 12, 2008

Are Mistakes Necessary?

At our dojo, there are constant corrections on everything: breathing, movement, posture, timing, etc. I often wonder at the amount of patience it takes to continually stress the same things over and over (Snaggy says it's a matter of them getting sick of seeing crappy kata). Everyone wants to instantly make the correction told to them, but oftentimes it's pretty hard, especially when you've been screwing things up for a long time. Even if you do something right, sometimes you're not sure if you did it right because you're not used to the feeling. In fact, you're usually used to the feeling of doing it wrong.

So much of Shorin Ryu is refinement by taking away extra things, such as leaning or tightness in the wrong places at the wrong times. I often find myself seeking for the right way by "not doing" things I've been corrected on. This can be dangerous, since overcompensation can be just as bad and in the long run, it's a heck of a lot easier to do one thing than to not do a thousand.

All the same, the more conscious I become of the things I'm doing wrong, the more the corrections start to make sense not just from an intellectual standpoint, but in execution as well. To move beyond bad habit comfort zones, serious concentration is needed, not just mental endurance to merely tough out the continual long hours of practice. As Sensei says, he can't do it for you, so you have to do it yourself. He can explain and correct, but it comes down to just doing it.

Learning karate is a highly active process that doesn't allow laziness; mistakes won't correct themselves over time. People can get bogged down in their mistakes or just as bad, be too complacent about them. To get beyond this, willpower, hard training, and mental focus are needed.

This karate is hard work...