Be a Master Chef, not a Short Order Cook

Your goal on the karate journey should be to become the best martial artist you can possibly be.  To accomplish this, you need to think “gourmet food”, not “fast food.”  You want to take your time and learn the fundamentals and build on them slowly and methodically.

The short order cook who works for the fast food restaurant has to worry about speed, not quality.  The customer expects to get his food fast, and the emphasis is about getting the job done as quickly as possible. 

The master chef who works for the 5-star restaurant is concerned with quality, without much regard for time.  The customer expects to get high quality food, and the emphasis is about having the highest quality possible.

This analogy applies directly to marital arts.  The student who is concerned about speed is missing out on the necessary attention and practice needed to perfect their moves.  The details, which are critical to making a great kata or performing the techniques correctly, are not practiced and thus the end result is an inferior practitioner. 

On the other hand, the student who is working on understanding each move and homing in the fundamentals is on the path to greatness.  Learning everything correctly, and then repeated practice of those moves, is a terrific combination for becoming a fantastic martial artist.

Martial arts might be unique as it is the one sport where no one brags about how quickly they became an expert or how little they needed to practice to get to their “high” level.  So, if you hear that someone has been practicing martial arts for decades then you might wish to pay attention to them, but if they brag that they earned their blackbelt in a year, than you might want to temper the information they are giving you. 

There are no shortcuts to blackbelt.  There are no tricks.  There is no special magic.  Time and hard work are the “ingredients” that fixes the mistakes, forges the expertise and allows for greatness to emerge.

So, be the master chef and not the short order cook.  Use the correct ingredients.  In time, you will become the martial artist that you always wanted to be.

-Coach David-