Practice Should Never Be Perfect

When thinking about a future performance I commit to 10,000 mistakes. A great performance is the result of gradual preparation both mentally and physically. To perform well requires a proper period of preparation and the sooner you get started the better your performance will be.  

While you practice stay cool when you make mistakes. Do not pressure yourself to be perfect. Perfection is for the performance. Practice is when you want to make every single mistake. Get all the mistakes out of your system. As you practice focus your mind on your desired ideal performance. By keeping focused on how you want to perform and how you actually are performing in the present moment you will certainly notice everything that you do that is not that perfect standard. You will notice the mistakes. You will notice when you deviate from the path of orthodoxy! And you will realize the spots that you will try to improve in your next repetition of practice.  

Naturally, as you notice where you want to improve you will strive to improve them. This effort to improve can be a natural part of the process that occurs without stress or even internal comment. Avoid making negative mental comments to yourself or allowing yourself to have emotional reactions to your own performance. The easiest way for others to know you made a mistake is if you swear in the middle of your performance! If you make a mistake do not get stressed out. Even a tiny little bit. Keep your mind centered and still. In martial training we are also training our minds. In many ways this is the most important part of our training. Boxing and fighting are fast. Fast as the blink of an eye and the change of a thought, fast. While sparring with an aggressive partner, if you get distracted, they will immediately hit you. The easiest way to hit someone is when they are distracted. If you can distract the other person, it is much easier to hit them than if they are watching your every move carefully. If you are sparring and you think: “Wow, I just got hit, I screwed up!” You probably got hit another two or three times during those thoughts. Maybe instead of paying attention to your thoughts about the fight you should pay attention to your opponent instead. Train your mind to remain focused on performing to your maximum capability in the present moment rather than dwelling and lingering on your emotional reactions to the immediate past. Allowing yourself to become frustrated, or self-critical, or even anxious about performing well are all massive distractions to performing well in the present moment. Do not indulge yourself emotionally during practice it creates the wrong mental habits. Instead train yourself to stay cool and centered no matter what.  

The mistakes you will make will change during your preparation process. As you build your skills you will advance from making the mistakes typical of a beginner to those typical of an intermediate. Then you will advance to making those errors more common to an advanced student. Finally, as an expert finding new mistakes to correct will become a wonderful form of research that will open new areas to practice and improve. Some mistakes are only made when you have a high enough level of conditioning or have developed skill in more foundational techniques. Some mistakes are only discovered under intense pressure. Creating the pressure to find these mistakes so that they can be corrected, and our skills perfected is one of the best reasons to compete in tournaments and perform at events or even show off to our family and friends. The best way to prepare for those performances is to stay cool during training, enjoy the mistakes, learn from them, and then make new ones. In time there will not be any more mistakes and your perfect performances will be assured. These moments of performing our best under pressure is how we transcend our limits and demonstrate mastery. 

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