Polish (AKA Chris on Progress vs Perfection)

kaizenKaizen is the practice of continuous improvement.  We were designed to be creations of strength and throughout our life we continually polish ourselves to reveal our full potential.

Slowly but surely, I am improving in my lifts, approach and understanding of training concepts,teaching and living a confident and spiritually rewarding life, Over the course of the past week I have had a complete wreck of workout which I stopped within 15 minutes simply because I truly wasn’t present in the practice, and that’s when accidents happen. Two days later I enjoyed a practice that I can honestly say was one of the best I’ve enjoyed in awhile..

I left my training the way I want my clients and trainers to leave training, feeling better and recharged instead of beaten.  It is my belief that we are designed to get things from life (and training) and not simply get through life.

“Before I studied the art, a punch to me was just like a punch, a kick just like a kick. After I learned the art, a punch was no longer a punch, a kick no longer a kick. Now that I’ve understood the art, a punch is just like a punch, a kick just like a kick. The height of cultivation is really nothing special. It is merely simplicity; the ability to express the utmost with the minimum. It is the halfway cultivation that leads to ornamentation. Jeet Kune-Do is basically a sophisticated fighting style stripped to its essentials.”    Bruce Lee

As a child, I recall my first Karate Sensei telling us that it takes 10 years to begin to understand some of the complex forms found in Martial Arts. Understanding therefore being one of the early steps towards mastery. Several forms within Japanese and Okinawan Karate systems contain 70-100+ individual movements, these are reserved for more advanced students.  At a higher level one starts noting the seemingly minor movements that connect major movements in addition to the practical application of the principles within the system.  Later still, all forms start becoming very clear.

I noted that simply by expanding or contracting a technique it could alter its use as either defensive or offensive, which later led to the question if there truly were any purely defensive movements. At that point the singular Martial Art that I had studied started taking on a look that was entirely unique to me.

30 years of training and practice later, I gained a degree of acclaim as a teacher instructor largely due to my ability to teach techniques within the forms that were often considered nebulous. I would offer 2-4 possible interpretations and practical applications and drill each with the group.  Given the fact that the students in this case were all at an advanced level it was fairly easy to grasp and improvements were noted quickly,

Essentially I added a layer a polish to other instructors.

As I now approach my 40th year of practice, I can say I’m, starting to understand a few things,my movements have become much more economical and my teaching methods have simplified. I still love learning new stuff.

Although hardstyle kettlebell as taught by StrongFirst and RKC is comprised of only six main techniques (The Turkish Get Up,The Swing,The Clean,The Snatch,The Press and The Squat) I find there is exceptional depth to each technique regardless of the visual simplicity and that the principles remain constant even when other objects are used in place of the Kettlebell.

It took just under a year to gain that insight, and in every practice I add a layer of polish to myself. The process of Kaizen is never ending, and at times can be arduous.  I am far from where I can ascend, but I have faith that tomorrow I will be one step closer towards understanding.

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