Lessons From the Dojo

It may have been four years since I have been unable to practice Karate. However, I cannot deny the principles and discipline that I learned from my years of training in the dojo. If only now, I am starting to take those principles and disciplines seriously. While I wish that I would have learned these earlier on in my life, I guess that it is better to be late than not at all. If anything, there’s a bunch of lessons that I have started to apply in various aspects in my life… starting with music. Why music? Because, in my mind, I could have been a more disciplined guitarist (and possibly a pianist). If anything, I’ve been somewhat disappointed with my current skills when I listen to the various aspects of my playing. I let them stagnate to the point where I feel that they slid backwards. Others may not hear it, but I certainly do, and it’s undeniable to my own ears. Hence, the need for discipline passed on for centuries of martial arts’ Senseis.
My first discipline that I am applying is by doing these licks slow and even. This is how I used to practice my katas. It helps me feel the technique and trains the muscles to move in the direction and rhythm needed. It also allows the rest of my senses to learn what I am doing. I am training myself to hear as well as feel what I am doing when practicing a lick. I’ve learned the practicing it slow is extremely important. Important to the point where I tried to speed it up and immediately noticed the mistakes. Slowing it down helps me iron out those mistakes and fix them at the root.
Another discipline I have learned was from a book, called “The Classical Man”. It reads: One Kata – Three Years. Basically, this indicates how long it takes to ingrain a kata into the body. It’s a lot more than simply memorizing it. It’s building it so that it is instinct. It’s anchoring into the body through repetition. The same goes with practicing guitar licks. Practicing it over and over, feeling and hearing it, works it into the body. Sure, one can try some shortcuts, but it wouldn’t replace the satisfaction of hearing the lick progress as you feel it in your fingers. To me, that’s part of the joy of playing guitar. Part of experiencing this joy comes from the discipline of learning it until it is a part of you.
And I know that the kind of music that I want to write, it’s going to require discipline. And, the only discipline that I can see that will work for me, is what I learned from the dojo.

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