One of the things that Grandmaster Joe Manley said that has always stuck with me is related to the importance and value of reviewing skills and the “little things” in a technique that had been previously learned. It was in response to the attitude that he (and I both) have seen of when people get impatient with reviewing things that they believe they’ve already learned.
Joe just gestured in the air, but I’ve drawn a version of that gesture below.
In essence, as you learn more (whether in Bando or in another discipline), the build-up of knowledge and skill can feel linear, like the lowest line traveling from left to right. Going back to review past lessons can feel like going in the wrong direction, or “going backwards”. Joe’s point, though, was that by reviewing, you don’t “go backwards”, you “back up”, and therefore you are increasing your inherent skill level (see the angled line). So by “backing up”, you’ll then be able to execute those same skills at a higher level than when you had first learned them, and will then operate on the higher line (labeled “Refining”). This process can happen over and over, until you’re at the level of mastery.
I love this simple concept, and I think about it not only when practicing Bando, but in pretty much anything where I’m using new skills. We will be spending a lot of time in class “backing up”, and I’m looking forward to the journey!