A green belt student asked me for advice on his side kick the other day. He expressed disappointment when I told him that his side kick was fine.

“But it doesn’t snap and sometimes I lose balance. Your kick is much better!”, he told me.

Each class, students are instructed to perform 100 side kicks. I calculated that between white and black belt I must have done a minimum of 125,000 side kicks. I’ve been a black belt now for about 23 years so I couldn’t even begin to estimate the number I’ve now done, but I hope that one day my kick might be as good as my own instructors is! My point is this… Sometimes there is nothing to correct; sometimes you just need to practice more. My student was performing his sidekick like any other green belt; by the time he is a red belt his kick will be much better because he will have done a lot more side kicks. Of course, techniques need to be performed correctly, and it’s important to train with an instructor who can identify any errors you may be making. But there is nothing that can substitute for ‘time on the mat’.

I mentioned this in a class just before Christmas, and one of my senior students told me a few quotes he had found:

In The Book Of Five Rings, where Miyamoto Musashi talks about understanding a technique and how when you deliver 100 strikes you don’t really get a feel for something – but if you deliver 10,000 or 100,000 strikes you actually start to have an understanding of a technique on a deeper level.

I also found this quote by Bruce Lee too:

‘I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.’

What great quotes!

Expert technique takes time.