Practice a sword cut 10000 time
“You can practice one sword cut 1000 times or you can practice 1000 sword cuts once” I first heard this phrase from Mustard sensei 4-5 years ago and at the first istance I recall thinking what’s the difference? A few years later, I now know what the difference is.
A similar Quote has been attributed to Bruce Lee, I came across it a few days ago and it said:
“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”.
The difference is the focus and the intent.
Doing 1000 sword cust once – or 10000 kicks once according to Bruce Lee’s example – means that one is holding back on the first 999 sword cuts and therefore not giving the action the full attention it deserved or getting out of the action the full benefit it can offer.
The difference in that mentality and type of training is the difference between a pass time hobby and budo ; it is the very difference between Keiko and taiso.
Keiko, is a Japanese word that doesn’t really have an full equivalent in English, it loosely means ‘repeating that of old’ i.e. repeating the traditions past, so each technique is not ‘practiced’ but performed with a certain mental focus and attention to the spirit of the technique and essence of it and the martial aspects with in which it is imbedded.
Taiso, merely means to practice, or to repeat. In taiso, one is just repeating the action; one is not trying to repeat the ‘traditions of the past’ but just going through the motions.
When we train by Keiko the result is very different to training by taiso, the form is not the same, the outcome is not the same and indeed the technique is not the same either.
Practicing one kick 10,000 is totally different to practicing 10,000 kicks, This would explain Bruce Lee’s fear of the one who practiced one kick 10,000 times.
My sensei tends to repeat the following advice : “Train like you are performing your grading”. This means that every move we do should have that intensity and focus and presence of mind which, would convert our training from mere Taiso to Keiko.
It would also see a significant jump in our training quality in a very short time allowing us to get better quicker.
So the next time you train, ask yourself and be honest “does what I do fall into the Keiko aspect or in to the Taiso ?