MAX Blog

Basics First

Only those who have to do simple things perfectly will acquire the skill to do difficult things easily.
— Friedrich Von Schiller

A lot of things have changed since I first stepped foot into a gym. I vividly remember my first taekwondo class, my first day at basketball practice, my first tennis lesson, piano, flute, track and field, painting,... The list goes on and on, but the outcomes were all the same. Repetition, repetition, repetition.

The same holds true today, only we are not so willing to follow it. Times have changed, and I argue that it is not for the better. Technology has spoiled us to a point where we want things now...like, right now. But some things take time. And practice. Lots of practice. In fact, the old saying, "practice makes perfect" is still valid. Only, I would change the saying just a bit to read, "PERFECT practice makes perfect." 

Unfortunately, if I were to teach my martial arts class the same way it was taught to me so long ago, I fear there would not be a student left by the end of the week. Kids get bored...quick. They want to be fluent fighters by the end of the day, Jackie Chan by the end of the month, and be the winners of American Ninja Warrior by the time they get their yellow belts. I constantly remind them the importance of practicing the basics, over and over, until they are second nature, then we can move on. They appease me, but I know they would rather be doing quadruple back flip flying tornado kicks.

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Why do we feel the need to "move on" so quickly? Do we fear that others will get there first? Are we so easily bored? Or do we really think we are good enough to advance to the next level? I am just as guilty. I remember watching the older black belts and trying to mimic their movements, I remember skipping my beginner piano scales and trying to play Beethoven, I remember many times when I tried to do the hard stuff before I was ready...and the results were always the same. 

The same goes for working out. All it takes is a few minutes on YouTube to see that too many people are more concerned about how much weight they can lift, or if they can do it on a stability ball, while on one foot, with their eyes closed... than to concentrate on good form. I would hate to see their hospital bills. Practice your technique. Perfect your form. Work on your flexibility. If you struggle with an exercise, try a modification. There is nothing wrong with looking ahead. But, it is a solid foundation that is essential for success. Do not be afraid to stay put for a little while and learn. In the end, you will be better for it. Basics first.


Watch Steve and Maddie demonstrate the pull-up, push-up, squat, and dip, as well as, modifications for each exercise. Comment below to let us know your favorite modification for these essential moves.