Mindful and uncritical Repetitions

 in Bradenton - Ancient Ways Martial Arts Academy

The Power and Misunderstanding, of Mindful Repetition

We tell our students constantly that there are three steps to success with anything, from playing a musical instrument to hitting a tennis ball to throwing a great spinning back kick. Those three things are:
1. Consistent practice – you can’t just work on it occasionally or haphazardly. Twice per week is a minimum.
2. Mindful and uncritical repetition – Embrace the repetitions, do them as well as you can but don’t get frustrated. Frustration just sets you backwards.
3. Over time – Nothing happens overnight. 50,000 repetitions done in a week are not going to be as effective as doing those same 50,000 repetitions over the course of a year.

This particular situation has happened with many of my students, but I’ll tell it about one in particular. I once had a student named Brandy. She had been working in class on her Kip-up for some time. A kip-up is when you are laying on your back, raise your legs up, kick into the air, which lifts your body off the ground, you arch your back and you land upright, on your feet. It’s done in nearly every action movie ever made and is a great way for a fighter to quickly get back to their feet. Anyway, Brandy had been working on it for some time. She was doing all the steps correctly, but her body had still not found the timing to accomplish the feat. Every attempt ended with dramatic expressions of frustration and annoyance. She was beating herself up so bad from not accomplishing it, that she was not moving forward. “Master Brown I know I’m missing something. I’m so close, just help me get it.” Not to sound without compassion, but at this point, the only thing that was going to help her was to stop beating herself up over it and to embrace the repetitions, but mindful repetitions.

I told her, “I know there is something else, but I can’t tell you what it is until you practice what I’ve shown you, with mindful attention to the details, for 100 repetitions. You are not allowed to get angry or upset, you are not allowed to get frustrated and the technique must be good.” I set up a pad and got her started with a little praise and then went to work with some other students.  She got to her 15th attempt when she finally got the kip-up and ran over to me with a whoop and hugged my neck.  Her body was getting exhausted so it began to work economically, stopping her from getting in her own way. Her timing came into alignment and she got it. This is how it works.

Embrace Mindful Repetition.  Don’t get frustrated or critical, just get into the meditative groove of it and let the magic happen.



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