When you first start training, you have an initial goal. It could be to lose weight, get fit or learn how to defend yourself. Whatever it is, once you attain that goal, a new one takes its place. How does that happen? It originates from the higher level understanding you have for the skill you are training for. If you train to increase your skills, then the higher quality goals will be revealed.
Let’s take a look at some examples:
Filipino Martial Arts
One of the very first techniques you will learn is the angle one strike. At first, your goal is to get the initial details down and create power. As you gain in understanding, your goal then becomes to effectively use it. What kind of effectiveness? Maybe it is to score a hit during sparring. Maybe its to cause a flinch response. Or, maybe its to maintain distance.
Yam Sam Khum, aka marching stance or march of 3, to develop balance first. Then you try to be mobile with it. Then develop quickness. After quickness comes elusiveness. Finally comes mastering the timing. Its amazing what you can do with basics when your understanding builds.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
Learning the armbar from closed guard. Getting the mechanics down is one of the first goals. Then as you gain understanding, then directly trying to apply it against resistance. After new understanding on how resistance is used against you, attempting trickery or cleverness comes into play. The more your understanding grows you can see how your higher quality goals reveal itself.
New Problems VS Old Problems
Sometimes it’s difficult to be aware of finding the higher quality goal. Many of us are problem oriented so let’s use that as an advantage. If your find yourself in a new problem, then there is progress. If it’s still an old problem, then there is no progress.
As you can see, these goals can be given to you by the teacher, but only as suggestions. Class could be structured to work on a particular goal since the teacher has a program written for you (well, at least the good teachers will create lesson plans). But this would be more of being led through a process. Naturally, you’ll come up with your own goals as your understanding increases. Just be sure to apply them on top of what the class is working on with you.
When you become aware of your higher level understanding, your goals will naturally change to the higher quality ones. You may even start with a higher quality one. It doesn’t matter. The quality of your goals will increase along side your understanding.
Higher level skills will reveal higher quality goals. In short, educate yourself. Go to school. Train!