Slow, natural, deadly: The importance of fundamentals

Fundamentals, fundamentals, fundamentals.

Everyone knows it, fundamentals are fundamental. It's like saying water is wet, isn't it? But again and again the greatest teachers of hard disciplines remind us that we need to master the fundamentals to become the best.

Vince Lombardi, said it:
Fundamentals win it. Football is two things; it's blocking and tackling. I don't care about formations or new defences or tricks on defence. If you block and tackle better than the team you're playing, you'll win.
Kageyama Toshiro, said it:
Faithfulness to the fundamentals is something that becomes second nature to a professional.
Professionals of two very different fields said this. Why don't you listen?

In karate (I assume it is the same in most martial arts) there is a standard way of learning. You start with slow movements. Be it a punch or a lock, you start slowly, training your muscles to do the move. This is the fundamentals learning part.

After this, you start to move naturally, close to real-life speed. You train your muscles and nerves to get the movement into yourself. However, to do this you need to have practised thoroughly the fundamentals first. If not, your knowledge is empty. You will ace some movements, but others will be crap.

Finally, you know the movement so well that you don't need to think about it. It is now instinct, and you will make the perfect move the situation requires. But how could you do it if you learnt it wrong in the first place?

If you find yourself struggling with some task, review your fundamentals on it. Almost all tasks you procrastinate on are tasks with brittle foundations. If you are about to start a hard task, don't jump straight into it: first review the fundamentals.

Related posts:

Love thy tools to maximize your productivity
Procrastination: Causes and cures
What the 'broken windows theory' has to say about productivity
Written by Ruben Berenguel