The System is the Solution.
Anyone who has ever been to an AKKA Black Belt test has heard this phrase coined by our late Grandmaster Mr. Bill Packer. But what does it really mean?
Mr. Packer would say that if we take the effort needed to get a Black Belt in AKKA Kenpo Karate and apply that to our life we are guaranteed success. True…but what does it MEAN?
I remember at my third degree test I was asked “What do you need to work on as you progress toward 4th degree Master Black Belt. I said, “I need to work on being more of what my students need me to be.” The moderator said, “You know, many people search for the mystical in the martial arts and it all comes down to repetition. If the reps are there the mystical happens. But if the reps are not there the mystical isn’t either.”
(Thank you Luie Goudy).
The mother of skill is repetition.
So how many reps does it take Mr. Burt?
Asking this question misses the true essence of what it means to be a martial ARTIST!
Repetition is not a finite thing that ends at a certain number. Oh, it very well may do so in any given practice session. But the next practice session will see more reps and so on. repetition is not about reaching a particular number and feeling accomplished. It is about the HABIT of doing karate consistently over time to accumulate unknown repetitions so that the following axiom holds true…
Don’t practice until you get it right…practice until you cannot get it wrong!
And that takes EFFORT!
And it is THAT kind of effort I believe Mr. Packer was referring to when he said the System is the Solution.
It is the work of taking our karate training into HABITUAL PRACTICE that allows us to gain the REAL benefits of being a martial artist. And it is very likely that the student who fails to do this will not make it to Black Belt. It is really hard to do. We come to the martial arts with the hopes of having our lives transformed by the training only to drop out because the reps were no there.
For some sticking with the martial arts is just plain difficult. It is even harder to explain, in any really meaningful way the benefits we can gain from sticking with it, I mean I have been doing this for over 20 years and the only answer I can honestly give as an answer is…”Go run your katas.” If they only knew. I mean REALLY knew then they wouldn’t quit. That the long term devotion to the development of these skills enriches and empowers us like nothing else! But all the words in the world cannot do justice to a single repetition of motion.
And if the reps are not there then the mystical isn’t either…