Feature Article of the Quarter
THE IMPORTANCE OF BASICS
By: Jeff Sensenig - Shodan, Heilman Karate Academy
Throughout my martial arts training I have learned many life lessons in addition to gaining the ability to defend myself.
My training started when I was about 8 years old and took my first karate class with my father. My father and I went to classes regularly for about two years until our teacher moved away. In those two years of training I started building a good foundation of basics which undoubtedly helped the development of my balance and reflexes.
Even at this young age I knew I would come back to training because I really enjoyed what I was doing. In 11th grade I received this opportunity when my friend Joe had a free introductory lesson at Heilman Karate Academy and asked me to come with him. I immediately devoted myself to martial arts and set a goal to attain the rank of Black Belt. Even though my friend did not stay much past the first month, it was easy for me to remain interested because of the new friends I made at the Heilman Karate Academy and the commitment the Black Belt teacherıs made in me.
Before long I made progress through the ranks and was headed off to Albright College. While in college I added jujitsu to my martial training and continued to balance a schedule of studying with fun. During my freshmen year in college a profound phrase I learned from karate classes started to prove itself true in life.
The phrase I heard over and over was itıs all about the basics. The biology classes I took in college were all built upon preexisting knowledge of the fundamentals of science. If something came up that I glassed over the first semester, I would inevitably be forced to relearn it again the second semester. After a few episodes of seeing topics time and again, I began to realize that it was a lot easier to put the initial effort forth to learn the fundamentals rather than pile it on top of the new material. Even today when I sit in graduate school classes, traveling down the road to become a physician, the students who stand above the rest are the ones who put the hours upon hours into the basics.
I guess what I am really trying to get across is that in life the basics are not going to go away. Look around at the people who are atop of their art and contemplate what makes them so good. It soon becomes obvious that the people who are the best at what they do, have a tremendous knowledge of the basic material. Keeping this thought in mind, when an instructor tells the class that tonight they are going to review the basics, I challenge you to not look at class as a rerun, but rather take the opportunity to convert the previously learned material into something which is second nature. The person who succeeds in doing such will be better able to master of the advanced material because in the end a personıs art can only be as good as the basics which it is founded upon.
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