One concern I have for my students is when what they do does not look like what I do. This can be the way they play a form or apply their techniques.
Back in the day when I was learning one way to tell if you have properly learned what a teacher is teaching you is whether you have attained the characteristics of the style however they may be defined. We denote this attainment of a certain level of performance as 到家 (arrive home).
To be able to achieve a standard of performance is not a matter of imitation. Instead, it is achieved by immersing yourself in the principles over a period of time, letting them soaked into you and become you. Then you will take on the flavor of the style in your movements.
I was reminded of 到家 when I was uploading the videos of my meeting with SKD member, Melvin, this afternoon. One pose that I made looked strangely familiar until I realized what it was. Below is the screen capture of the pose (I have put the photo that I remember of Grandmaster Cheong Fook teaching me this application; its from one of our secret forms that I constantly work on …….. ) :-
Now I remember how I didn’t like this technique at one time because of the stress imposed on the wrist. But strangely, I did the movement on Melvin without even thinking about it. Below is the video that this screenshot is from :-
Many students have asked me the question of how to cultivate a skill. My route is via form training or in the absence of forms, solo movements.
Start by being familiar. If you are not familiar then you don’t have a basis to work off from. Once you are familiar you then refine your movements.
With the refinement of movements comes the next step of making them natural. Keep training until you are really familiar with them. After this you just keep doing the movements every chance you get. That’s right. Every chance you get.
Mastery is a function of time spent on doing something. If you don’t keep working at it you will never get there. In this sense you can say that constant and consistent practice is the secret to mastery.