A Piece of Rice Paper

In order to be good at anything, one must do that thing. Malcolm Gladwell has supported and promoted the idea that it takes 10,000 hours to master something. The concept has come under fire and the research has been questioned, but we can only become good at something by doing it. As a rule, the more we do something, the better we become at it.  There are exceptions on both sides, but in general the more we practice the better we become.  As an addition to this, Ted Williams, the last Major League Baseball player to hit over .400, said, “Perfect practice makes perfect,” meaning that practice makes permanent, and if one practices incorrectly, one cannot be perfect no matter how many hours one puts in.

As a teacher in public schools, I see many students who don’t do the things that they’re supposed to be doing in order to master the skill. Part of the problem is that they’re interested in things other than the skills being taught in public schools. I know I was! With Iaido, Aikido, or any other martial art, it is different. We willingly walk through the door and pay dues, and bow in to the class, yet for many, class only happens when Sensei is watching. Some people want Sensei to watch and constantly talk to them and give them tips and pointers, and some even want corrections. This is not the way of training though. One must watch and copy what he sees and then try and do it exactly as it was done. Not once, not twice, but 10,000 times with or without Sensei watching.  Please, keep training.