Achieving mastery in 7 steps

This week, steps 1 & 2


1.       Find a good teacher

The first step to take after deciding to pursue the study of any subject should be to find a person who has already accomplished greatness in that field. Do not waste time trying to, “reinvent the wheel.” You can learn many topics from books, videos, the internet, etc. To effectively study martial arts, though, you must be face to face with a teacher. The other resources can supplement the process, but real learning happens on the floor, through trial and error and personal experience.


A strong body plus a strong mind

equals a strong future.


Because this is such a logical first step, why don’t most of us first consult those who have walked the path ahead of us before starting a new endeavour? The biggest reason is we are excited to be starting something new. We can’t wait to begin. Another reason is that we fear that by consulting others, our creative juices will be stifled. Lastly, we just don’t want to share the credit for the accomplishment. We want to feel like we did everything on our own. Our ego makes us believe that climbing a mountain with a guide cannot possibly be as satisfying as climbing solo.

A great teacher enhances learning, helping you to get the skills you need as fast as possible. With enough practice, you will reach a point where you no longer struggle with the basic techniques. When you have mastered technique, you have the freedom to become an artist. Remember, you must be a great technician before you can be an artist.


2.       Patience

After you have found a great teacher, the next requirement is to be patient. Our society demands immediate gratification. The quicker the better! We have blazing fast internet connections and powerful microwaves to cook our food faster. We can even buy peanut butter and jam in the same jar, to optimize our sandwich-making experience! Impatience is an epidemic in our culture.


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?


We despise slow beginnings, but the true study of martial arts takes time. You must be patient; you are not going to master your techniques quickly. You won’t get into shape overnight. Impatience is the number one reason why people quit their practice. We are a society with short attention spans. People quit activities at the drop of a hat. In any field, find the person who is at the top. The master of any discipline has immense staying power. They could not have reached the heights of greatness without patience.


Next week, parts 3 & 4


Sensei Matt

Shudokan Black Belt Academy – Aikido Nottingham