Pursuit of Excellence

 Perfection can be defined as faultless or high degree of excellence. However, it is more of an ongoing pursuit than an end result. Perfection in the martial arts is what keeps us training because, to the martial artist, there is no end to the pursuit of excellence. As students, we do like praise from the Instructor but too much of it can breed complacency resulting in a reduction in enthusiasm to further progress. That's how it was done in the old days.

Perfection is especially important in the traditional martial arts where respect for the arts is maintained; these techniques are effective in their own right. Just because something is old does not mean it is useless. However, techniques do evolve at the higher levels, especially in BJJ, but at grass root levels, the techniques passed onto the student should be learnt and performed almost exactly the same, in principle.

When I observe students I am always scanning for imperfections in the techniques. What’s most important is that a technique should not be compromised because the student, who will one day be an Instructor, will pass that onto their student. If a glass of juice is watered down each time it is passed onto the next person then you don’t end up with 100% juice. So this is what can happen with techniques not taught or learnt correctly. They are not original and may have defects. So when your Instructor points out your mistakes, that's a good thing. Imagine reporting a problem to a Doctor and they can't tell what's wrong with you. It's all about finding out your mistakes and fixing them!

Perfection is about discipline, regular reviews and critique if we are to improve our skills. So FAIL can be good because you need discipline to accept it, listen to critique and review the process for a successful result.

It is the journey, not the destination, that makes it exciting. See you on the next trip.