But what is skill exactly?
One of the great secrets of budo – something that is truly ‘hiden’ but which is so simple it’s hidden in plain sight is this – skill is acquired through repetitive practice, not through acquiring new information.
It’s actually pretty obvious, but often people misunderstand it. It’s not about how much you know, it’s about how deeply you know what you know. Depth in this regard means how deeply you’ve explored it or in the context of budo, how many times have you done it.
And not just how any times have you done a thing, but how many times have you done that thing correctly?
If you only train at a dojo two or three times a week and don’t otherwise do any practice, the truth is it’s going to take you quite a long time to become skilful. The dojo is somewhere you should go to acquire new information, to error check your existing understanding and to make sure you’re on the right path.
It’s NOT where you go to become skilful – it’s where you acquire the tools to do that for yourself, in your own time at home.
Sure, just going to the dojo is better than nothing and everyone has periods of their lives where they’re very busy and it’s basically the best they can do to just make class. But even five or ten minutes a day of personal practice adds up and who doesn’t have that?