The season of midterms is upon us and this blog post was inspired by my chemistry teacher at the tail end of a very long 3 hour lecture about a week before our first midterm: a student raised their hand with 5 minutes to go and asked for the most effective way to study for the upcoming exam. My teacher responded with what I found myself along the lines of saying to the kids when I would teach them a new kick in the Beginner Black Dragons class:
“Do your equations 100 times and by the end, there’s no way you can’t get them.”
In Kung Fu, from white belt all the way to black belt and beyond, we try to teach about mastery and its importance. But as much as its talked about, I often wondered if I really understood how developing mastery improved my skill, my work ethic, and my train of thought. It wasn’t until the year I graded for my black belt that I realized that 100 repetitions of one technique doesn’t only improve upon your technique, but your mental status as well. After doing 100 kicks you find yourself not only pivoting into your 3-point-position with greater flow, but feeling every inch of the mechanics of the kick itself. When you’re pushing though your last 20 roundhouses, your hips are aching, and you really don’t want to do it anymore, you can almost feel yourself pulling the energy through the earth, transitioning it through your body, and then releasing it with the chamber and flexing of your leg. By 100 kicks you have began to realize that you are not just throwing a lame technique thats off a sheet of paper, you are stringing together a combination of moves with power, focus, and intent; and there is no greater feeling than that. I’ve come to realize that mastery is not simply a way to gain better technique, it’s a way to gain an appreciation for your art and each and every techniques and what makes up each and every component; and realizing the purpose behind each pivot and flex. Turns out, mastery isn’t just about action, but about mindfulness.
I’d like to challenge everyone reading my blog to do 100 of something by the end of the week. Whether it be 100 techniques, 100 acts of kindness or 100 math equations, do them and keep your purpose in front of you. Why are you doing this? What are you wanting to accomplish? Feel the change and the difference at the end.
“She who succeeds in gaining the mastery of the bicycle will gain the mastery of life” – Susan B. Anthony