“Practice makes perfect”, or so we were led to believe when we were growing up. “If you do something 10,000 times, you’ll be a master,” is another similar saying. But this isn’t the whole story. That’s why my Sensei always said, “Practice does NOT make perfect; perfect practice makes perfect. Practice makes permanent.” In other words, if you practice a thing 10,000 times wrongly you’ll have only mastered doing that thing wrong, sealing the incorrect method into your muscle memory.
This is why it’s important to train your body to do a physical skill like a martial arts technique correctly as quickly as possible so that all your practice serves to reinforce that method, rather than reinforcing a method that is incorrect or inefficient, even if it feels more natural to you. There are methods of correcting technique to get yourself on track more quickly an efficiently, three of which I will outline in this article. (more…)