motivation that is easy for dogs and hard for owners. And it proved so all over again!
We were awarding Xia (with briquettes) whenever she was doing something that we actually wanted her to do in the way the instructor taught us. Xia was not receiving her food at home but was fed out throughout a day and practically for every single briquette had to do something. In two weeks’ time she was completely clean. As dogs are more inclined to “understand” gesticulation and not words we had to learn right gestures. When she understood them we gradually added words to them. All this time whenever she behaved “properly” she was rewarded with food from our hand. Wrong doings were overlooked but not punished. Until something was done rights, she did not get food. Xia almost immediately learned what brings her food.
The instructor told us that normally the repetition of 10.000 times makes the command stored to dog’s musculature “memory”. How equal to us! (See: How To unify Body, Mind and Spirit). Practically the same goes in practicing martial arts: “If you want to really learn something you have to repeat it 10.000 times!”
When I practice my martial arts the repetitions are the basis. In karate, to learn endurance we had to stand in proper stances long over our burning muscles. We were hitting focuser glove on and on to learn right way.
Also Wing Chun is not that different when drill is in question.
On top of all hard hits and kicks you get tired due to repetition of them. That IS the moment when you start to preserve your energy as you are too tired to hit with force. The hits become proper and not any more brutally. Later on, with years of repetition, you know how to hit properly right from the beginning and up to the end of session. And there is also your shifu who probably tells you all the time ‘the first and the last hit have to be the same!’ That makes the difference between loosing and winning fighter. The latter can spare energy for the whole fight and all the repetitions during it.
Repetition is crucial in all learning processes.
Now what about positive motivation – is it found in martial arts too?
It should be. Why would people struggle with all that endurance, pain and repetitions? Tai Chi definitively gives out positive motivation if you are determined and focused enough: I’d explain it through pushing hands at which you improve relaxation, flexibility, timing, balance, self-control and numerous other qualities by repetitions. And improving yourself is (should be) a positive motivation.
Why? Because you come to martial arts’ gym to improve yourself, don’t you?
You cannot or do not want hard work – Kong Fu – just enroll in something else then!
Repetitions and positive motivation are seen in different ways throughout our life span. I like to tell my students that when we were young and made our first steps, our parents guided us with positive motivation. Do you remember how happy you were when seeing first experimental steps of your child? Then a parent removes one hand … a second hand … et voila, the child starts to walk unaided! When they fall, you encourage them giving praise and the child starts all over again. Similar as we do with our Xia or, in the martial arts’ gym.
Imagine punishing a child when she/he falls? Would we ever learn to walk? How long would it take us?
Back to the working world: how do we ‘praise’ our workers when they (accidentally) make a mistake?
Mostly, we do not! We ‘hit’ them on salaries.
There is a so-called positive motivation - ‘the best week/month employees. What about the rest of them? Yes, they are losers. Can this be considered as ‘Inspiring others’ approach? Just for a moment think the situation with twin brothers: would one of them ever walk if their parents treat one better than the other?