“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” That’s not a quote from a great western philosopher but from Henry Ford, the man who started that motor company you may have heard of. It’s a phrase bandied about on management courses but what has that got to do with karate?
I take this to mean that if you always train in the same way and practice the same techniques you are restricting your potential.
For example, if you never push yourself when stretching at the start of the lesson you will probably never be able to kick to head height.
That may not bother you. There is certainly a school of thought that says you shouldn’t really be kicking head high. From a practical self defense point of view I agree with that thinking. However, if you don’t stretch so you can kick that high you are running a risk of injuring yourself when kicking at a sensible height because you are pushing yourself too close to your maximum. Not stretching well can also restrict your ability to do techniques properly.
Another example is that if you only put your efforts into practicing your favourite techniques then you will only be good at those.
That may not bother you either. Your right hand reverse punch may well become brilliant at the expense of your left hand and some other techniques. When it comes down to a situation that requires you to use your skills you can be confident in your brilliant right hand. That’s great but what happens if you’ve injured your right hand the day before? What do you do if perhaps you’re holding something precious in your right hand? You may well regret not practicing with your left.
A final example is that, unfortunately, we are all getting older. The younger club members’ minds and bodies will improve so that they can do far more and better techniques than ever before but only if they try. For the older club members there is the inevitable long decline in physical abilities (partly offset with gaining a bit of wisdom), no matter how hard we try to stop it, where things that once were easily done become not so easy. For those of us in that category we may need to discard our old favourite techniques and choose others to replace them otherwise injury and disappointment will surely follow.
The same goes with all aspects of your approach to martial arts. Being open to experience new techniques, new ways of training, changing the emphasis of what you do and why you’re doing it. You never know what new favourite technique you’ll develop or how much better you can get.