The truth is extreme .................... why yes it is, no it's not, yes it is, no it's .......
Sometimes this stuff almost writes itself. On Face Book a comment on "corp-speak" aka "what over-paid, over-sexed, over-educated corporate suits going no-where in a hurry" say during a staff meeting was posted by a player I know (so of course I'm stealing 'cause it fits with my current blog-o-theme of facing the truth in your martial arts training).
Now been self-employed for the last 12 years or so but before that having spent 25 years plus in corporate america (plus a stint as a government employed troll for the State of Texas) I am all-to-familiar with this kind of mindset and the unbelievable BS that it engenders. Here is what was posted on the FB account as the corp-use of "internalize" .....
Internalise - As in "What you have all failed to internalise is that there has been a paradigm shift. As a result you are all now behind the curve when it comes to the multi-lateral interoperability needed to realise the supra-organisational mission statement.” Even though there is an awful lot to detest in that statement "Internalise" is the word we most object to. It appears to just means learn or remember but as telling someone to learn or remember something appears instructive, suggesting they internalise it will sound more empathetic, but at the severe cost of sounding like a clone-monkey."
Bwahaha .... how entertaining for a laugh (as long as you're not subject to being forced to be there) .......... how depressing to consider that live humans can actually say things like this with a straight face ....... and how illuminating to consider that this term of "internalize" complete with it's conjugation ("internalization") which has been used in martial arts for possibly centuries, has now been perverted to this amusing bit of empty dialogue as in "...It appears to just means learn or remember but as telling someone to learn or remember something appears instructive..."
Unfortunately I have in recent years run across, into, onto (after I threw them down) a few Aikido players cum martial artists who think that this corp-use is the only use when in actuality it is simply NOT. It's not even in the same ballpark (remembering that the Japanese are real baseball fans).
In the MA when we speak of "interalize" or "internalization" what we are truly describing is the process that takes place over a long period of time as we run thru' kihon, then kata, then bunkai, then slow randori, then faster randori.
Consider the aspect of being human in how we do something as simple as blinking our eyes. How many times a day do you do that? A thousand? Ten thousand? You don't know; none of us do. In fact, you're not even aware of blinking at all unless you force your conscious awareness into monitoring it and even then, something else (cup of coffee, a conversation, a noise down the hallway) will shift your consciousness to it and you'll go on blinking and continue not being aware of it.
That is true internalization .... something so ingrained into you, so automatic, so intuitive, so reflexive, so a part of your total existence that you do it (when hit with the proper stimulai) and you are never aware of it at all unless your force yourself to become aware of it. As the Zen-meister said, "It just IS".
So if we accept this for a more appropriate definition of the term "interalize" then how do we apply it to the martial arts and to our training?
An article I read once and still have sitting in a paper file folder at home gave the results for a study done on tennis players in which researchers were attempting to discover the real difference between a good country-club weekend hacker and a world-class professional.
The answer? The number 10,000. 10,000 hours ... 10's of thousands of repetitions of a movement such as how to serve the ball across the net. The hacker was good but simply didn't put in the time to become world class. The professional would train for hours everyday and do such things as standing at the base line with the racket in one hand and the ball in the other and do nothing more for 30 minutes or an hour than toss the ball in the air and cock the racket back for the serve. The ball was never hit as the goal was to perfect the angle, height and body/racket position of where the ball, body and racket should be at the exact of service.
Then that was followed by an uncountable number of hours playing and not trying to score but simply to run back and forth across the court and recieve the service from the other side. By doing so, the professional watches the ball and based upon how the other player holds their racket, moves across the court and the racket touches the tennis ball and how the string on the racket depresses at the moment of stroke, begins to interpret intuitively and instinctively ("internalize") where the ball will come across the net and where he has to be to meet it and then return it ot the other side.
Note that all of this cannot be a conscious effort when you're playing at Wimbleton. It has to be "internalized" and completely intuitive, reactive and reflexive. The first moment the conscious mind gets into this evaluation/decision process the player will miss the ball and lose the set and eventually the match.
The most common term for this full intuitive use of "internalized information/reflexes" is "In The Zone" and professional athletes will make such comments as "I don't know what I did. I looked down and the ball was in my hands and I was across the goal line" or "My hands just kept hitting him all by themselves and suddenly he went down in the 2nd round and I won" or as the Samurai said, "The katana will know it's own technique".
So what truth is there here that's extreme?
10,000. 10,000 hours on the mat. 10,000 repetitions of kihon. 10,000 repetitions of principly correct waza. 10,000 hours of correct study of bunkai. 10,000 hours of slow, precise, methodical randori.
The truth is extreme when one suddenly realizes that all the "soft-touch" in the world, all the sitting and watching others train, all the seminars, all the wishing and the hoping just won't get you there.
Only 10,000 hours and 10,000 reps will actually "internalize" all the information your brain needs to turn your martial arts into something truly an integral part of your being; just like blinking your eyes.
See you on the mat.
Now get to work and stop lolly-gagging around.
No more Kuchi-waza.
Start "internalizing" .... bwahaha ...
L.F. Wilkinson Sensei
Aikibudokan, Houston, TX