Perfect martial movement – how can you develop it?

Whatever you practice you likely have some ideal of perfect martial movement. Perhaps that ideal movement is encapsulated for you in classical terms such as six harmonies, maybe it is something that you feel towards, or there is a teacher/fighter who you’d like to be more like.

The point is, you aren’t there…yet…just…more…practice…

There is an expression that I like, yet it also bothers me “Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.” But how do you practice perfectly if your movement is not yet perfect?

You could say perfect practice doesn’t require perfect movement, rather it requires full attention to the task at hand. I won’t disagree.

But what if practice makes permanent?

But then there’s the other phrase – practice makes permanent. If your movement isn’t perfect, won’t you just be reinforcing bad habits?

It piles a lot of pressure on you before you even start to practice.

Here’s a different perspective that I find useful, partly inspired by an apocryphal story of Thomas Eddison. After Eddison invented the light bulb on his 1000th attempt, he framed his 999 failures as ‘solutions to problems he hadn’t found yet’

The thing about movement is that is contextual. In martial arts, the context is constantly changing and not under your control. All the ‘imperfect’ movement attempts might be potential solutions to problems you haven’t found yet.

Just as importantly the act of exploring, adjusting your movement, refining it adds to the richness of your movement system. It opens your mind to new possibilities of movement. This perspective helps me to relax and enjoy the process.

Of course, this depends on you practicing with good attention and not assuming that you understand it all. I know that my understanding of perfect martial movement has changed drastically since I first thought I had it all sorted!

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