The highly accomplished martial artist Bruce Lee once said, “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”
Today, we live in a world full of shortcuts. It’s easy to skip certain steps and still achieve a somewhat desirable outcome. However, there is one tried-and-true method that always works — first master the basics.
We’ve all heard it before, but it too often gets overlooked. When any high-level athlete’s moves are analyzed, it is evident that he or she is highly proficient at the fundamentals of the given sport. These elements are so deeply ingrained in these athletes that these characteristics appear automatic. This allows them to take their games to a whole new level.
In the fitness industry, it seems like there is always some new creative exercise or workout program. However, in the end, it’s mastering the proper technique of the basic patterns (hinge, squat, lunge, step, push, pull) that will enable you to achieve some remarkable feats of strength and athleticism.
To dive deeper into this, the ones who have gotten so good at the fundamentals are the ones who build that strong foundation for their bodies. What goes along with mastering the basics is that the chances of injury go down, and what is the one thing no one wants to face — getting hurt. And what happens when injury occurs? Your joint(s) may hurt so you move less. Moving less means your joints do not get loaded. Less joint-loading means muscles weaken. Muscle weakness means force doesn’t get cushioned correctly. Less cushion means the condition worsens. And the snowball continues. This is also what happens in osteoarthritis.
It’s like trying to build a house on sand. You can try to build a beautiful, chic house, put in all the nicest appliances, but without that strong foundation the house will slowly start to sink.
John Wooden, one of the most successful college basketball coaches of all time, started each season’s practice in the locker room — teaching and reviewing how to put on socks and sneakers properly. Why? Well, so the players wouldn’t get blisters. If their feet are hurting, it will affect the quality of their play. If they can take care of their feet, then they are set up to optimize their skills.
As former World Heavyweight Champion James J. Corbett once said, “Only those who have the patience to do the simple things perfectly ever acquire the skill to do difficult things easily.” Strength coach Mike Boyle likes to make it even easier, recommending the KISS principle —
Keep It Simple, Stupid.
Reach Giovanni on twitter @GiovanniRoselli and his website, GiovanniRoselli.com.