Mou Ichido

When I was 19 years old I started taking martial arts lessons. I eventually earned my black belt in an Okinawan style of karate called Shorei Goju Ryu. Throughout the years I trained in karate there were several key lessons that have stuck with me to this day.

The most memorable stems from what my sensei jokingly called, “The Great Okinawan Lie.”  The “lie” was a Japanese phrase he used on the mat almost daily. He would tell us repeatedly, mou ichido (pronounced Mo-EE-Chi-Doh). In Japanese, mou ichido translates to “one more time” and conveys a sense of one’s repetition of something as part of a process.

There’s a lot to be said about repetition and muscle memory; how it can help us perform without thinking whether that is the way we do our job or how some runners can seemingly on instinct run a specific pace and come in within a few seconds of their target goal each time regardless of the distance of the race. The conscious effort to continue or to do another repetition leads to a habit or muscle memory that becomes over time, second nature to how we perform. We begin to perform on autopilot. However, we must consciously push mou ichido and strengthen that muscle memory and our very resolve to continue when otherwise we don’t feel like it or are just unmotivated.

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Muscle memory comes after 1000s of repetitions, but you have to choose to practice, train and do it, mou ichido.

To this day I still find myself repeating the mou ichido mantra during training sessions. One more time, one more repetition, one more rep, one more set, one more lap, one more mile and sometimes, one more step.

Happy Training


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