Achieving Mastery in 7 Steps

Today steps 5 & 6

5. Practice exactly what you want to perform

As human beings, our nature is to like what comes easy to us, and to shy away from things that are hard. Success makes us feel good. The same is true in martial arts. After several months of practice, you might begin to gravitate toward your favourite moves. You do them fairly well, and you feel successful. Other techniques will still be difficult and this is normal. Excelling in some areas and finding others more challenging is to be expected. But to become a well-rounded martial artist, you will need to execute all of the techniques in the curriculum. Keep challenging yourself.

Use this principle as a compass to guide you to your highest performance in the rest of your life. Frequently ask yourself, “Am I practicing exactly what I want to perform?” Maybe you need to manage your time better, so that you are more productive at work. Look at your relationships with others. Which are fulfilling and which are frustrating? Are you doing everything that you can to make your life work in the best way possible? Your life is not a dress rehearsal-this is the real thing. If you are not living the way that you want to live, what must you change to make your life exactly as you want it to be?

Remember, if the highest goal is a joyful satisfying life, practice what you want to perform. Smile often. Laugh and have fun. Find solutions, rather than focusing on problems. Practice being happy and you will find happiness.

A serious martial artist sees his practice as a path leading to greater awareness, concentration and patience—with himself and others.

6. Mindfulness

So you’ve found a good teacher, you’ve been patient and perseverant, and you’ve worked out hard, and you are trying to practice what you want to perform. By diligently following these first five steps, you can learn to defend yourself well, and you will get in great shape. But these accomplishments do not make you a true martial artist.

The primary difference is that a serious martial artist sees his practice as a path leading to greater awareness, concentration and patience with himself and others. He believes that his practice is more than just physical movements, and he cultivates mindfulness in all phases of his life.

Introspection and self-analysis are important techniques to the martial artist. In other words, reading about philosophy, and discussing the subject is not enough. You must do the work. The only person who can change you is you. Change does not happen overnight, but incrementally on a day-to-day basis. In the activity and the technique sections of this lesson, you will be given the real work. Complete the assignments and practice the techniques. In doing so, you are choosing to take your practice and your life to the next level.

You need something to live for and something to die for. You are very fortunate if they are one and the same.

“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.”

Albert Einstein

Sensei Matt Shudokan Black Belt Academy – Aikido Nottingham