Thought For The Week


Thought for the Week (April 14th, 2003)

From Kyoshi David Baker,Shihan Midtown Karate Dojo
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Quantity AND Quality

We all know that it's important to do many repetitions of kata. For fitness,
to learn it so we can move on to the next kata, and for making the techniques
instinctive.

But we also need to be constantly vigilant in honing that technique. Always
trying to improve our moves through self-awareness, the assistance of the
higher ranks, the mirror, and videotape.

So, our improvement is a result of two separate principles: quantity AND
quality.

Not just quantity alone: thousands of kata with no concern for technique.

Nor is it merely "quality" alone: a few kata, with great awareness given to
technique.

We need to do both. A lot of kata, but constantly trying to do our techniques
better than we did before. Otherwise, we're simply "burning in" our technique
mistakes, making it much more difficult to correct them later.

Here at Midtown Dojo and at other Dojo throughout our system, we will
celebrate Master Ueshiro's birthday this month by conducting a Katathon in
his honor. It is a unique opportunity to do 100 kata in a single class. It is
therefore also a unique opportunity to correct some of our mistakes. By
"burning in" the correct technique.

So therefore, don't simply "put your head down" and do the Katathon's 100
kata by rote, making the same mistakes over and over again, so that it's
virtually impossible to ever correct them in the future. Rather, I suggest
that you analyze the videotape of your kata now, before the Katathon; watch
it at slow motion playback to discover some of your more critical mistakes,
and then use the opportunity of the Katathon to eliminate those mistakes.

White Belts, also use this perspective to understand that the sooner you
catch a mistake, the easier it is to correct it. That's one of the reasons
why we emphasize the fundamentals so much at your level. If you haven't
learned a basic technique correctly by the time you become a Brown Belt or
Black Belt, it is that much more difficult to ever correct it.

So to sum up, it's important to do many, many kata. But as the saying goes,
"It's not 'Practice makes perfect' but rather 'Perfect practice makes
perfect.'"

Domo arigato gozaimasu and Happy Master Ueshiro's Birthday to one and all,
Kyoshi David Baker,
Shihan
Midtown Karate Dojo
Hombu of Shorin-Ryu Karate USA
founded by Grand Master Ansei Ueshiro
under the direction of Hanshi Robert Scaglione