Kyoshi's Technique of the Week

November 3rd, 2013

From Kyoshi Mackay, Hombu Dojo

Excellence is a Habit

Further to Hanshi’s thoughts on “Consistent Training” in the Fall 2013 Newsletter, Aristotle once said: "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit." In other words, forget about the 15 minutes of fame. Instead focus on the 15 minutes you spend every day before or after work doing repetitions of one kata. Focus on all 15 repetitions of each basic technique you perform in every class, not just the first, last or tenth. Don't worry about reaching perfection or breaking a sweat. Those will happen by themselves. Worry instead about missing one of your four regular weekly classes.

"Just do it" refers to Aristotle's formula for excellence through habit, not isolated flashes of greatness. A schedule of consistent practice does not entertain excuses. It does not care about what comes before or after, or what kind of day you've had. Practicing an art - any art - on a habitual basis is its own reward, freeing us momentarily from the burden of our goals or fears or ego. Bottom line: while it’s great to try many things, what you do repeatedly is your choice, for better or worse. It defines you.

Domo arigato gozaimasu, Hanshi, for incorporating Aristotle’s philosophy into Ueshiro Shorin-Ryu USA, and the paradox that excellence through consistent training can lift us out of our ruts.

- Kyoshi Mackay, Hombu Dojo