I've noticed an unfortunate tendency creeping into my training the longer I do all this budo stuff. It's most noticeable when I'm the one leading class on a regular basis.
Basically, I stop doing things correctly.
Which seems odd, doesn't it? You'd think that the more advanced you get, the more correct your technique would be, right? Well, yes, it should, darn it.
But the truth is, when I'm the most senior rank, I have a bad habit of getting lazy. Why, I ask myself.
For one, I can get away with it with lower ranks. Because they're not as skilled, I only need to get most of the pieces in place to make a technique happen, and they typically don't know enough to take advantage of it to counter it.
And frankly, deep down, sometimes I'm showing off a little. Look how easily I did that technique, aren't I smooth? Check it out, I'm not even looking at the guy...
Sigh. Not good.
Even then, I'll botch something on occasion, and frankly, that just tarnishes my credibility as a teacher in the long run (and likely makes the wonderful people who taught me look bad, too). Also not good.
I may also be mimicking what I see really, really high ranking people do. You know, the guys who have been doing this stuff since before I was born? Now those guys make it look effortless! Some part of me is probably just trying to copy what they do, the same way my four year old son might copy what he sees me do.
Are those high ranks lazy or showing off? I don't know, maybe. Then again, maybe they've done a thing for several decades the correct, proper way, and after all of that they know full well exactly when they can cut corners. Or maybe the way they do it has become so small and subtle, it only appears to be simple from my limited perspective.
It doesn't really matter. Regardless, I need to refocus my efforts, double check every piece, practice slow and as precisely as I can. And do that for a couple more decades.
I'm a student and instructor at Windsong Dojo in Oklahoma City, OK, where we study a non-competitive style of Tomiki Aikido, as well as Kodokan Judo, and Seitei Jodo. I've been studying budo for 19 years, and I hope to study many more. Welcome!