Mastering martial arts can seem like an impossible goal. People who have never tried to learn ancient lineage arts like Northern Shaolin, Xing Yi Quan, or Tai chi Chuan have no idea how hard they can be. Especially when people watch real experts perform they may admire their polished movement or skills and forget how much skill it takes to make things appear easy, simple, graceful, or consistently repeatable. But frequently, when they start learning, they find even the simplest things are incredibly more difficult than they thought. Often when people start training it is easy to imagine you are half way to mastery and doing really swell after a month or two. You have certainly learned a lot compared to when you started. However, pretty soon it starts to sink in. “Not only is this harder, much harder than I thought it would be, but it is also going to take much longer. I am not half way there, I am only on the first steps of a thousand mile journey!”. Well, this moment can be a tiny bit disheartening. Sometimes people hear the phrase “always be learning”, or “it is a lifelong process”, and they begin to wonder is mastery possible? Is it egotistical to think “I” could be a master, or foolish and prideful to set Mastery as a goal.
Take Heart! Mastery is possible and you can achieve it if you stick with and practice your practice. Practice is the key to mastery. Without sufficient practice within a reasonable amount of time you will never master lineage martial arts or anything else in life. Practice is the key and the only route to mastery. Regular, quality, focused practice striving to improve your skills and build your physique is the only way forward. Focus on creating the time, place, and desire for practice, then actually do it, actually show up and do your best to practice your art and improve yourself every moment of practice. Practice your practice. Practice getting to your practice sessions and not missing it. Practice bringing the right things to practice and not leaving them there when you leave. Practice the quality, focus, and intensity of your practice. Practice motivating yourself. Practice making sure you are rested and filled with nutritious food to support intense practice. Practice developing your training plan of what to practice.
Practice your practice and your practice will take care of your mastery. You will not have to worry about mastery or wonder about mastery or even concern yourself with it at all. Simply practice your practice until your practice has a momentum and life of its own. Then your development of mastery will speed along like an express train on a long straight section of track.