Practice Makes Perfect
"I do not fear the man who knows 10,000 kicks,
I fear the man who has practiced one kick, 10,000 times."
All of us are familiar with the old saying, "Practice makes perfect." It has been said that a Master (of anything), has practiced at least 10,000 hours to reach the level where they are referred to as a Master. This is as true of someone who plays the piano as it is of the martial artist. Of course, in this day and age, most people want to be a Master but lack the discipline to actually put in the hours of practice necessary to achieve even a basic proficiency in whatever they wish to learn. These are the folks who go to a yoga or Tai Chi class a few times and think they have it all figured out, before growing bored and moving onto the next thing. telling their friends that they will now be teachers that they 'practiced' those arts, and then are onto the next thing. Or, they see someone who is really good at playing an instrument, and even go out and buy that instrument, only to discover it actually takes a lot of, not only practice, but discipline to be able to play that instrument (let alone be able to play it really good!).
It seems that discipline has become a dirty word these days, as people want instant gratification instead of the steady, character-building process of becoming increasingly good at something. This is why so many will 'try' something out, even for a few months, and when the time comes to really dedicate themselves to whatever they are doing, they falter and make excuses about why they no longer wish to continue. For instance we may feel inspired to learn to play guitar, only to find that the only way we will ever be any good at it is to actually pick it up everyday and PLAY it. This is true of every discipline, whether it's meditation, Qigong, learning auto mechanics or painting. And yet, if we truly want the deeper gifts of these practices, we must make the commitment to actually show up for practice, not just once in awhile, but on a regular basis.
The truth is; if we want to be good at anything, we must have the discipline to apply ourselves to practice, and the dedication to continue despite any challenges that may arise along the way. It has been said that the only difference between a Master and the rest of us, is that the master never gave up; she continued with her dedicated training, no matter how challenging the obstacles or difficult the circumstances she faced. We must realize, in the same way, that being a 'practitioner' of anything means that we actually practice on a regular basis, no matter what. In this way we will begin to reap the benefits of our daily practice, and the rewards that go along with doing anything for the sheer joy of doing it.