There is a concept in martial arts called ren ma. Loosely translated it means: To cultivate and achieve perfection through tempered training. When going into more detail the definition exceeds the adage of "practice makes perfect"
The classic saying - "Practice makes perfect" may seem similar in meaning to what ren ma is about however, ren ma has a much deeper connotation, particularly to those who are serious about their training, development and achievement. ren ma reminds us that to achieve perfection in martial sciences or any biomechanical endeavor requires extremely diligent and never ending tempering, polishing, and refinement.
Kata embodies the idea of ren ma, or "always polishing" – with diligent practice, the moves of the kata become further refined and perfected. The attention to detail that is necessary to perfect a kata cultivates self discipline.
Why should we strive to continually polish?
To quote one of the founding fathers of karate: "The ultimate aim of the art of karate lies not in victory or defeat, but in the perfection of the characters of its participants." — Gichin Funakoshi, founder of Shotokan Karate-Do.
Ren ma goes beyond practice and speaks to the attitude we must possess when training. Train like its your last day, means that in each training opportunity, in and out of the dojo, you give it your all, holding nothing back and keeping nothing in reserve. Every technique is real, every moment is life and death.
When you train like this, you cultivate the character and spirit to overcome any moment of adversity. This translates directly into every facet of life outside of the dojo. When you are constantly polishing, tempering your character, no matter what life may throw at you, you will be able to withstand it because you have done the work, and prepared yourself.
strong spirit-strong mind-strong body