You have probably heard the phrase ‘practice makes perfect’ more times than you can count. Why is it used so often? Because it is true! It doesn’t matter what you are doing – from baking a cake to running a marathon, to improve your game long-term takes practice. Lots and lots of practice.
Taekwondo is no different. Black belts don’t grow on trees, and they don’t give them out just for showing up, there is no such thing as a ‘participation blackbelt’. If you want to wear a black belt and genuinely BE a black belt you will have to earn it. How? By training consistently and committing to reaching the goal regardless of how long it takes.
How to Become Outstandingly Good at Taekwondo – or at Anything Else You Choose To Do
On your Taekwondo journey with Pacific International Taekwondo you can expect to be practising and correcting the same techniques repeatedly. I know this might sound dull, but it’s just the opposite. When you’re involved in your training working on techniques can be inspiring. Even something as fairly straightforward as a back kick can be exciting to carry out when you know you have practised each part of the technique, so it is honed to perfection, dynamite fast and visually amazing. You made that happen by practising repetition.
But the real reason for the repetition isn’t to exercise your ego… it’s to instill techniques, so your body and mind are trained to carry them out instinctively when they are needed. And as we said earlier, it separates your level of ability from being average to being outstanding, and isn’t that what we all want, to be not just average but outstandingly good in whatever we choose to do in our life?
The Real Reason for Repetition in Taekwondo
It has been said that performing a technique 1000 times (or 10,000 times depending on who you ask) will turn it into a reflex. Whilst this is not 100% technically accurate – a reflex does not involve the brain whereas martial arts techniques do – it can make the action instinctive. This means being performed without input from the conscious mind. This is important since the subconscious mind works faster than the conscious one. If you had to stop to think about performing a technique the target will probably have moved by the time you executed it, or if your target is a person – hit you first. Think of animals with the fastest reactions, such as the blow from a mantis shrimp or the strike from a viper. They are acting on instinct, not conscious thought, which is one of the reasons they are so quick.
You will probably have noticed that martial artists tend to learn techniques as part of a combination and perform them one after another. Why do they do this? So that the combination as a whole becomes instinctive. This prevents the phenomena of having a brain snap – or ‘forgetting which move I’m supposed to do next’. In a grading, this is embarrassing but in a real-world fight, it would be painful! Your opponent will probably have hit you in the second it takes you to work out what to do next.
Use Your Taekwondo Training to Build Good Habits for Life
When performing these techniques, it is important to do them correctly with precision and control. If your techniques are sloppy in training then they will remain sloppy when it comes to use them in gradings or in a real-world defense situation. It is easy to pick up bad habits, which is why it is so important to train with experienced instructors who will correct and tweak your techniques, such as the great team we have here at Pacific International Taekwondo – Brisbane. Make ‘perfect practice makes perfect’ your new mantra and you will be on the path to grading success – most of the time.
However, passing a grading is not guaranteed for any student at any level. The occasional set back or mishap on the day is inevitable, but the worst possible thing you can do is to become demoralised and quit. Instead, use it as a learning curve and grow all the stronger for it. Perhaps you hadn’t been training regularly enough or hard enough in the lead up to it. If so, you know what you will need to do to be better prepared next time.
Perhaps you were unable to take part in the grading due to events beyond your control, such as illness, injury or your house burning down the night before, (seriously, we know of someone this happened to!)
Life can be both unfair and unpredictable, but you must learn to roll with the punches (pun intended), dust yourself off and keep going. Training with us at Pacific International Taekwondo here in Brisbane will help you to toughen up, enabling you to meet life’s challenges head-on and overcome them.