The other evening we had some newbies, 4 white belts and a yellow. Master F. took extra time to talk through the mechanics of cutting, and Dave worked with the white belts on the first form. Nothing odd there, but the thing I was surprised and delighted by was my attention to this.

I’ve been doing this over 2 years, I know this stuff. But fundamentals never get old. It always helps to listen, to hear it again, to find something you have, in your neglect, skipped over. You get called back and doing it one more once is always a good thing. It’s when your attitude becomes, “Ho hum, I know this already” that you have left the path. Nothing is old hat. It’s all new and important, even if you’ve literally done thousands upon thousands of straight cut drills, you always need to do it again, to hone your form, to keep from falling back.

Life is this way too, when you go on autopilot, when you neglect the basics, skip over steps, whether in your job, at home or on the road, you are asking for trouble. Karma has a way of surprising the sleepy.

Obviously there are many things that do become natural, that you can do instinctively, but that which requires discipline, attention and practiced skill should not be blown through. The key is understanding the difference. But if you’re not always a beginner, you’re not learning. If you’re not learning, you are losing what you have. Stay a white belt.

Author: Master Robert Frankovich

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