Seeing Improvement

In my training over the past few years especially, seeing marked improvement in my skills has been an area of...difficulty from my point of view. I know in my mind and with my being that I've improved and made progress. My instructors tell me as such also and can see techniques that are better than they were, but there are concepts that give me trouble still. I was waiting for the "Eureka!" moment where the lightbulb turned on and suddenly everything made sense. I was expecting a significant jump from "Huh?" to "Aha!"

Those moments did not happen in the way I imagined them. In fact, my instructors told me as much months ago and explained what would happen.

On Tuesday night, both the kids' class and the adult class were small. It was the week of Thanksgiving and had been stormy all day. I usually help out in the kids' class, but on this night, Mr. M worked with me instead. The topic was snap and power in my forms. I was not generating the power I needed, so he addressed that.

He had me work on getting more hip rotation as I moved in a front stance and then timing my lead foot and hands to stop at the same time. Then, it was a matter of doing both of those things while fully committing to the techniques. He gave me something to focus on, to get the point fixed into my head - every technique must be done as if I was in the middle of my test and my black belt was on the line.

After this, he had me do a couple of my forms with that same mindset. I was breathing hard by the end of each form and Mr. M told me that was probably the best he's seen me do the forms.

The kids' class ended about this time, and I ended up being the only student in the adult class. This turned out great. Mr. M had me do one of my forms so Mr. G could see and then they had me continue doing all of my forms with the same intensity.

Mr. G turned to Mr. M as I finished Pyung Ahn 2, about the halfway point of our color belt forms. He asked him to choose one area that needed the most work in the forms. Mr. M thought for a moment and said "timing." The significance of this (which Mr. G reminded me of immediately) is that for months, if not longer my instructors have been telling me - no, more like chanting at me - that my forms need more power. This issue with power has frustrated me for so long because to have power, you need speed and snap, not strength. Sure, you can muscle through a technique, but you're fighting against yourself and wearing yourself out with tension if you try to force power like that.

Something happened that I didn't really realize until it was told to me. Power was moved down from #1 on the list of things to work on. I continued doing my forms, all the while wondering when that had changed. The difference wasn't a huge lightbulb moment, but there was a noticeable difference in my techniques.

Subtle. Just as my instructors had told me it would be. One day it just. . .works. The recognition of change  was as small as "This feels a little different. A little better." Simple as that. Can I tell you outright what I was doing differently? No. I really have no clue myself! It just worked.

Now why was I making this so difficult?

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