Sunday, May 20, 2007


There's no getting around it, martial arts requires repetition. You have to practice your techniques over and over again to get good at them, whether you train in aikido, iaido, judo, jujutsu, karate, kendo, or kyudo. That's probably why, in the long run, the people who get to be best at martial arts are those who enjoy the practice for its own sake. Some of the benefits of repetition are: conditioning, learning, meditation, and spiritual forging.

Conditioning: one of the obvious benefits of repetitive training is conditioning. By repeating physical techniques over and over, we strengthen our limbs, improve our cardiovascular systems, and cleanse our bodies by sweating.

Learning: by practicing over and over, we gradually come to understand how techniques work. This is true on a technical level - repeated practice allows us to think about our skills and refine them - but it is also true on an intuitive level - repetition allows us to develop a "feel" for how to move in certain techniques that helps with strength and efficiency.

Meditation: repetitive practice helps to calm the mind. This may be because the material we practice is limited, so our mind can relax, or it may be that there is some direct relationship between physical exercise and mental calmness. Whatever the case, experience has shown us that long-term, repetitive practice leads to greater calmness.

Spiritual Forging: dedicated practice over a long period of time has many benefits when it comes to making us stronger in spirit. Our weaknesses can be gradually overcome (if we practice with the right positive spirit, always trying to get a little better every day). Our strengths can be developed. Our intuition can become sharper. Our will to succeed can be honed.

Practice, practice, practice! Always enter the dojo with a feeling of pleasurable exhilaration. Strive to improve yourself in every training session, keep at it for years, and you will be delighted with the results!

The Japanese Martial Arts Center would like to thank the many Ann Arbor businesses that support this blog, both martial arts-related and others, including: Network Services Group, Art of Japanese Swordsmanship, Shudokan Martial Arts Association, Budo Mind and Body, Art of Judo, Iaido Dot Com, Lorandos and Associates, Oxford Companies, Bluestone Realty Advisors, Portfolio Ann Arbor, Invest Ann Arbor, the Law Office of Nicklaus Suino and the ITAMA Dojo.