simple progress fast

March 7, 2022, El Al, Israel - South Africa

Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzato final resting place.

The beginner and the advanced practitioner see things differently. The classic Jewish text, "Path of the Just" by Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzato, begins with an analogy of a maze, the garden where people walk through and try to find the correct path. Only one path leads to the other side but it is confusing as there are many paths one can turn on. Those who have reached the other side are there to offer advice; choose this path! Go this way! 

The wise will listen to them and save time, the foolish will have to learn the hard way, by trial and error.

Rabbi Luzzato tells his readers that he is writing this book, the Path of the Just to help us find the correct path, to avoid pitfalls along the way, to find the easiest path to our goal of a good and pure life, true happiness.

It is the same with training. The teacher is there to guide you. You need your teacher, for many reasons. He is not only your teacher, he is also your guide. He can advise you, chose this path and not that path, this way will save you so much time and trouble.

There is no wisdom like that of the experienced master. Mastery takes time, patience. We are well advised to listen carefully when we hear a master speak. I had the privilege of learning from many great masters, rabbis, sages. When these elderly men spoke I leaned in, desperately trying to catch every word of wisdom, even nuance. These form the foundation of our Krav Maga, for all wisdom is wisdom. All wisdom can be applied to all aspects of life.

One who rushes ahead will in the end fall behind. One who is in too much of a hurry, will eventually find himself behind the pack, the last of his group. Patience, understanding that the fastest way to progress is to devote more time to the first stages of learning, to the ABC's, the foundations. 

When you are a beginner you are eager to learn, to move ahead faster, you have no patience, you want to skip to the next level. I have a friend who came to Mexico many years ago, the first thing he did was take a course in Spanish, to learn the language properly, correctly. He has friends who after many years in Mexico still cannot speak properly, and others notice this at once. He took the time to work on the fundamentals. Those who did not, still do not speak well. The foundations are essential.

When one begins to learn Talmud he must learn the concepts, he must not be in a hurry to "cover more ground", he must take his time and not be concerned with how much material he has covered. In the long run he will progress faster if he has devoted more time to the foundations. 

And so it is with Krav Maga. The longer I teach the more I see this truth; the more time spent on the foundations, the basic techniques, the faster the progress later on. It is for example, that if you spend one year on Chapter 1,2, and 3, you will be able to learn chapters 10,11 and 12 in a month. While if you learned chapters 1,2,3 in a month, it will take you years to cover chapters 10,11,12. Spending more time on the basics will allow you to progress faster later on. But you need to have the patience and the humility to slow it down at the beginning, and this is the challenging part. 

Learn your basics, learn how to learn, don't be in such a hurry at the beginning. Our ego wants to rush forward, to skip the boring drills. Learn your scales, understand how chords progress, practice your finger-work and some day you will play beautiful music. Skip all the boring drills and you will always be a sloppy musician trying to cover up your flaws. 

If you want to improve your advance techniques, do so by going back to the basics. You want to prepare for your black belt test, do so by reviewing your yellow belt techniques. Do not get stressed out by the complicated stuff, focus on the basics and the complicated stuff will come to you easily. 

Each week I prepare my Torah reading for my few minutes of stardom in the local synagogue. I begin slowly, I go over the basics just as the little children do. In fact I trained with little children, same class, same teacher. I go over each letter, than each word, then each sentence; The foundations, the basic, this is the secret to success. 

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