The process of internalization and the training cycle is discussed frequently at the Academy, however, there are numerous other studies and writings that detail the training cycle that any serious student or teacher should become familiar with. The training cycle essentially describes these four general stages of learning/skill progression:
· Unconscious incompetence – one is not aware of the gaps in one’s knowledge;
· Conscious incompetence – one is aware of the gaps in one’s knowledge, but not able to correct them;
· Conscious competence – one can correct the gap in knowledge actively thinking about it;
· Unconscious competence – the correction is internalized and no thought required to produce the correct result.
Unconscious competence implies ‘mastery’ of a skill set (we place the term mastery in quotes since someone at this level generally understands that there is a daily routine or process that must be repeated in order to maintain the viability of a skill set – it is a journey and not a destination in both a physical and philosophical sense); one has repeated the skill until it cannot be performed incorrectly. If this process were singularly applied to each task in one’s life where mastery is desired, the sheer magnitude of a linear learning and internalizing process would prohibit the ability to either have any sort of life outside skill mastery or master more than a single set of skills.
· Pine (sho or matsuba) – strength
· Bamboo (chiku or take) – flexibility
· Plum (baika) – endurance
The "why's" of the motif are detailed in the Academy's student guide; a brief summary, however, is that within the analogy, each of the symbols (pine, bamboo, and plum) even singularly actually represents all three tributes (therefore some Seizan Ryu schools use a single symbol to illustrate the entire motif as well); each one may have a more predominant trait, but upon closer examination, it is realized that each is a holistic compilation of all three attributes.
The strength-flexibility-endurance analogy, like much in the martial arts, is intended for multi-layered development. In other words, it is not just the physical development of flexibility, for example, but mental adaptability as well. It is not only muscular strength, but strength of character that is developed. Endurance is not measured only by caloric burn at a given heart rate, but also by perseverance in the face of adversity. High quality martial arts programs functionally integrate the multi-layered development of strength, flexibility, and endurance. The integrated approach to training reflects the principle of efficiency that is connoted by "ju". Why is that important?
I hope this brief message allows one to see that “ju” is not only a quality of technical skill, but a concept that our training structure is founded upon and a quality we sincerely hope allows our students to be efficient both inside and outside the dojo.
Howe, P. 2009. The tactical trainer: a few thoughts on training and training management from a former special operations soldier. Authorhouse. Bloomington, IN.
Mitose, J. 1953. What is self defense? kenpo-jiu-jitsu. 4th Ed. Kosho-shorei publishing. Sacramento, CA.
Siddle, B. 1995. Sharpening the warrior’s edge: the psychology & science of training. 5th Ed. PPCT Research Publications. Millstadt, Il.