It is interesting to discuss with the students their personal perception of their martial evolution. Some will feel that they are progressing easily while others tend to devalue. They are persuaded that they do not move forward that they are far behind the other students at the same level. But is this perception really reflect reality?
Martial progression of an individual is not mathematical. In the martial arts, one cannot quantify the skill and abilities of a practitioner. Of course, you can count the number of katas he has or the number of techniques he has accumulated, but this has nothing to do with true martial skill. Attention, here I speak of budo and not to photocopy to infinity a technique that the teacher taught us. So I eliminate from the start everything that is robots and exact reproduction of the movements of the teacher. I speak of the skill that can be developed in a practitioner so that he can defend himself effectively in a real situation.
The first mistake is to compare to the other students in the group. They seem to be better than us, they seem to perform the technique with so much ease that it gives us the feeling that we are not actually made for that. For a person who does not have the skill to see the performers more in depth, this may seem true. But if we dig deeper, the conclusion may be very different. Many students seem to have so much ease in performing the technique. But as they say, the devil hides in the details.
Over the years, I learned that often the students who seemed to have the most difficulty stopped on these little details. This small angle that makes all the difference, this essential distance that allows us to avoid the blade or this sensation which leads us to think that we do not have it, that we are beside the truth. These doubts prevent us from progressing until we understand how it works. In many cases, the one who seems to perform the technique with ease did not care about these parameters. He takes pleasure in performing the technique, without being embarrassed by the accumulated errors. By moving in this way without worrying about the accuracy of his movements, he exudes an aura of confidence. And, what is important, he takes pleasure in performing the technique.
The second mistake some students have is that they become discouraged by seeing others act with this semblance of ease. Generally, in the budo, the one who, with time, gets worse, is the one who has had to make efforts, which has had to overcome these inferiority complexes. He worked so hard to understand the diabolical little details that he came to better mastery of these techniques.
In both cases, students will learn to progress. Those for whom this seems easy, with time they will polish their material, to fill the weaknesses of the bases of the budo that they have accumulated. For those who felt they were not up to it, they would realize that once they have mastered the solid foundations they have tackled, they will have become effective. It’s all a matter of patience.
Yushuu shihan Bujinkan Quebec