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  • Chris Kent

Take Inventory of Your Skills


In martial arts, skills matter; because they are our means of expression. How, for instance, can a martial artist expect to express himself or herself fully and effectively if they lack the requisite skills that will allow them to do so?


In order for you to be able to express yourself fully in whatever capacity you choose, as well have the ability to adapt and fit in to any situation that confronts you, you need the fullest use of your skills. A lack of skills, having the wrong or insufficient skills can act as limiting factors for you.


The skills you’ve developed suffuse all aspects of your ability to express yourself. Faith in our ability to do something comes from the knowledge of having adequate skills at our disposal. Confidence in yourself and in your skills allows you to step beyond your comfort zone, push your limits and achieve more than you otherwise would.


According to renowned dance choreographer, Twyla Tharp, in her book The Creative Habit – “Skill gives you the wherewithal to execute whatever comes to you… skill is how you close the gap between what you can see in your mind’s eye and what you can produce…the more skill you have, the more sophisticated and accomplished your ideas can be.”


In order for you to appreciate your skills (as well as recognize where you might be lacking or need improvement) you need to take inventory of them. Some might be physical/athletic skills. Some might be mental or emotional skills. And some might be a combination of both.


Physical/Athletic skills include such things as coordination, balance, poise, flexibility, endurance, strength, power, speed, accuracy, reflexes, a good sense of timing, a well-developed rhythmic sense, etc.


Mental/emotional skills could include such things as perseverance, discipline, the ability to remain calm under pressure, a willingness to change and adapt, etc.


The skills I’ve just listed are just a generalized overview of martial art skills. Each person needs to assemble their own list.


Taking inventory of your skills can help you get a handle on where you currently stand with regard to your abilities. It can help you ascertain what skills you have, what skills you need to develop or refined. For example, once you know what your perfected skills are, you can shelve them or put them on the back burner for a while and concentrate on your skills that need to be cultivated or sharpened.


While I’m a firm believer in the idea that our reach should exceed our grasp, taking inventory of your skills can go a long way in preventing failure. Some people, for example, have an idea or image of what they want to accomplish or do, but fail to realize or refuse to acknowledge that they lack the requisite skills to pull it off.


The better you know yourself, the better you can organize or structure your training in order to actualize your full potential as a martial artist. So it’s a good idea to make the time to take inventory of your skills. If and when you do, be as thorough as possible, and be objective and make it as honest an appraisal as possible (Remember the inventory list is for your eyes only).






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