I was talking with Grandmaster Joe Manley recently about fine-tuning some techniques I’m working on with him. I’m grateful that I still have him as my instructor to help me continue to advance as well as to point out the places I may not be doing well or where I may have gotten sloppy.
One of the things he said that struck me was simply this:
You have to have a love of repetitionJoe Manley, 7 November 2020
Joe was stressing the importance of practicing not to the point of competence but until the skill being worked on can arise without thought and flow into whatever you are doing. This also means going back and practicing something I might deem that I fully “get” to see what additional refinements I can make to improve a technique even more.
This kind of training requires you to be content with a knowing you are deepening your skills without necessarily having something flashy that can be demonstrated. Joe also notes that “the little things take lots of work that no one will ever see”. So I’ve been going over my notes over the past couple of years to see what things I may have glossed over and what things I need to reinforce. Little things like working on the stability of different fist positions, the flick of the wrist, or the roll of a shoulder, and rediscovering how these little things can then show up in other techniques I already “know”.
Joe wrapped up our conversation on repetition with the comment that he always keeps with him the “Sistence” sisters. Who are they? One is named Consistence and the other is Persistence. You don’t have to spend all of your waking hours training, but do train consistently and be persistent in your efforts to deeply learn.