There’s a natural inclination, when you’re working out to go hard and go strong right from the get-go! Although there’s nothing wrong with working up a good sweat (I generally encourage it, actually) it may not always be conducive with getting the most out of your workout.
Last Thursday’s karate class was interesting, because we practiced sets of 50 reps. The instructor would provide a specific technique and had us pair off and practice them back and forth for 50 reps each. We did this for almost forty minutes.
I was paired off with a young lad who was a green belt. We squared off and he attacked appropriately and I began practicing the assigned technique. When I had completed my 50 reps, my partner started in and performed his. Here’s what happened…
I started off at a steady, even pace. I focused on form and proper technique. By the time I reached 40 reps, my strikes got stronger and more focused. My partner started off by striking as hard as he could. He focused on strength and sheer force. By the time he reached his halfway point, he started getting tired and his muscles turned lactic.
What does this teach us? Well, it teaches us that learning the technique properly as a first step is of the utmost importance. Strength and power will come later. What is that quote from Bruce Lee? “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”
Essentially, you need to try and focus on learning things properly before trying to apply it. This is sort of what form and kata are for. When entering the dojo, everyone wants to punch and kick as hard as possible and make it look fancy.
Good things take time. Patience. Perseverance and practice. There are no easy paths and even when you have experience, you sometimes need to back it off a notch and take some baby steps to ensure you gain the most from your training. ☯