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Practice Makes Perfect


A dramatic ballad singer studied under a strict teacher who insisted that he rehearse day after day, month after month the same passage from the same song, without being permitted to go any further. Finally, overwhelmed by frustration and despair, the young man ran off to find another profession. One night, stopping at an inn, he stumbled upon a recitation contest. Having nothing to lose, he entered the competition and, of course, sang the one passage that he knew so well. When he had finished, the sponsor of the contest highly praised his performance. Despite the student’s embarrassed objections, the sponsor refused to believe that he had just heard a beginner perform. “Tell me,” the sponsor said, “who is your instructor? He must be a great master.” The student later became known as the great performer Koshiji.

How many times in the dojo have we found ourselves in the very same spot as the singer in this story? We work on a part of a kata or a technique endlessly. Sensei, for whatever reason he may have, does not guide us any further. We become frustrated. We become angry. Sometimes we quit. If one walks away, do they ever have the fortune of the singer in this story to finally see the reason behind what was trying to be passed on to us?

In the story he practiced so much that it became part of him. To really master something, it has to become part of you. Just that one small part of the song became a part of his very being. He knew that one thing so well that, even though it was a small thing, he mastered that one small thing. He learned this lesson and went on to be a great performer. Surely he used his knowledge to master not only the rest of that song, but other songs as well.

How many times in life are we faced with frustration? We try and try to “master” something and it seems we just never quite get there. Always remember; you can always take your abilities one step further, one inch closer to perfection. We should never be satisfied with a good or even a great performance. Be patient and strive for ultimate perfection, even though sometimes there is a cost.

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  1. April 3, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    That’s true.

    I did it with Math. I knew I wasn’t good in it, but my mother said I have ro read, reread, understand the definitions, analyze the problems. Then, one day, I had a epiphany of sorts. from then on, I aced all my Math tests.

  2. April 4, 2012 at 2:22 am

    Yaaaah… I’m doing this at work every day right now as I adjust to my new environment there.

  3. April 5, 2012 at 11:43 am

    It is the seeking of perfection that perfects, I have found.

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