I find myself in a rather thoughtful mood tonight. Our last class was different than most. My Sensei sort of turned the class over to us, to discuss and practice what we wished. The conversation and practice turned towards counters to techniques. Sensei has been stressing the importance of breaking down our technique and examining it. By doing so, you discover the strengths and weaknesses of it, or rather the areas of vulnerability in any given technique.
We began with familiar techniques, countered it, then countered that and so on. That's what we tried to do, that is. J.C. and I both blanked somewhat, but eventually the gears started moving and we made some progress.
Both J.C. and I now feel pretty comfortable with several techniques. As good as we get at say, a wrist throw, we are reminded that we can still refine our technique and improve on what we've done hundreds, maybe thousands of times. If that wasn't enough, we now learn that for most techniques we learn, there are up to 5 counters to them. J.C. said it best on the way home, "It's like learning Jiu Jitsu all over again."
That's the thing about this journey. It never ends. Basics can always be improved upon. Once you get really good at a technique, you need to learn the multiple counters. Learning how to counter makes you examine your technique for weaknesses all over again. I suspect this process never ends. You really can discover magic in routine practice.
One wise warrior once told me "Advanced techniques are just the basics done better..."
There might be some truth to that.