The Plan/Do/Check/Act Cycle in Martial Arts & in Life

Do you ever stop to look at the world around you and wonder where you're going? What you're doing? What is the point?

I do - all the time, maybe too much. I'm not sure if that's always been the case or if it came as I got wiser 😉 but one thing I do know is that living the martial arts lifestyle has sharpened that ability, that skill.

I call it a skill because it basically reflects how we learn and how we grow, whether we do it consciously or not. It's the Plan/Do/Check/Act & Repeat cycle.

For example, in Jiu Jitsu, an instructor will teach you a drill to practice or maybe you're looking to land a specific technique in your free sparring session. This is your plan.

You go ahead and start training. This is the doing.

Then you check on your progress. How did it go? Did you get some new feedback? Did you land that arm bar? Did you get the results you wanted? If not, what needs to be tweaked to get there? This is the checkpoint.

Once you know what correction to make, you go back to training and fix it. Depending on how complex the technique is, the process can take anywhere from seconds, to minutes, to days and months. This is the action.

This is how we grow in all areas of our lives: our work, our relationships, our health, our fitness and even playing video games.

We Plan/Do/Check/Act and Repeat.

What we can learn from martial arts though, is the importance of making the cycle between Planning and Acting as short as possible so we can aim for continuous incremental progress.

This means tweaking as you go, as opposed to working for perfection right from the start. You end up saving a lot of time and energy, two valuable things you can't put a price on.

When we follow the Plan/Do/Check/Act cycle over the long run, we eventually achieve mastery. There's constant improvement, constant evolution.

A lot can be learned about how we can reach our full potential as human beings, and in martial arts. If you can remove yourself from the obvious practical applications of martial arts (self defense, physical activity, confidence, etc.); you will find that your journey truly is a microcosm of your life as a human being. So take what comes in your training and learn from it - the benefits will span much bigger than you think.


Renshi Melhem Wehbé


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