Why do we practice? More importantly why do we practice so often? In an earlier post I discussed diligent practice(see http://martialways.blogspot.com/2009/03/diligent-practice.html) Today I want to discuss why we have to do so many of the same techniques over and over and why this cultivates discipline. Webster defines discipline as: training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character. When we execute techniques over and over we are forging a certain type of character in ourselves. We live in a society that gets easily bored and our attention spans have been shortened considerably. In a society where everything has to happen "yesterday", the practice of martial arts forces you to take the slow track to excellence. You cannot earn a black belt overnight or even in a year. On average it takes 4-5 years for a first degree black belt depending on where you study. In order to achieve this you must have discipline. In order to pursue any endeavor with excellence, it requires discipline. I'm sure Tiger Woods still practices his swing even though he is a champion. If you look at any person who is in the elite of their respective fields, you will see one common theme- discipline.
Do we need discipline? Not really. We can all "get by" even when we aren't disciplined. We can make ends meet, train every so often, and cruise through life. The question is do you want to excel? If your answer is yes, then you need discipline. If you want to achieve great things and impact others and the world, you need discipline. It means doing things over and over. It means not getting bored easily, but understanding that each time you do that same technique, practice that speech, have that conversation, you are getting better and moving closer to mastery.
On whatever path we choose to embark upon, mastery should be our goal. Take the first step today and discipline yourself each day to keep taking those steps.
strong spirit-strong mind-strong body