I believe two things when it comes to skill. 1. Anyone can become better at things that they consistently practice. 2. No one can fully reach their highest level of skill, even if they are loaded with talent, unless they consistently practice.
Practice Makes Us Better
If you want to improve, practice. But you have to practice well. Not just practice.
We’ve all heard practice makes perfect. But that’s not true. Perfect practice makes perfect.
If you practice bad form, you’ll be getting better at being bad at it.
I tell my students all the time that if they come to class and goof off, then they are not practicing martial arts, they’re practicing goofing off. If they ever have to try to defend themselves, they’re in trouble.
When you look back to see if you have gotten better, you have to have something to compare with.
This is why we track our practice. But don’t just track what you did. You should be tracking other things like how you feel, what you learn, how many or how much.
As you look back to see the progress, you want to have something useful for comparing.
Set Up Habits Instead of Goals
Instead of saying to yourself that you want to work your way up to 100 push ups in one shot, set up a habit of doing a certain number of push ups a certain number of times per day.
Eventually, you’ll be able to do 100. But you won’t stop there because you hit a mark. You’ll continue to do something that is good for you and promotes growth every day.
Practicing on Your Own for Martial Arts
When we get together in class, we should be taking the time to learn new things, ask questions about things we’ve been practicing, and share insights with others.
The tedium of practicing things thousands of times to build them in to our unconscious minds should be done on our own.j
Practice should be done any time you can fit it in. At home, at work, on a daily walk, just before bed, or when you are waiting for the train.
Things to Practice
Here are some things to help you practice on your own