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How to Do a Hurricane Kick – or Anything Else

Want to know how to make everything easier? The formula is extraordinarily simple.

I have a daughter who is a third-degree brown belt in kenpo karate. She’s a powerhouse in the dojo and can whoop just about anyone’s trash if she has a mind to. But when it comes to talking to people and trying to make friends, she’s reticent and anxious. You’d be more likely to guess that she was an expert in crochet than that she had a wall full of trophies as a sparring champion.

She hasn’t realized that she learned the answer to her social woes way back when she was an orange belt.

How to Do a Hurricane Kick - or Anything Else

Watching karate students learn to do hurricane kicks, is a bit like watching a man slip on a banana peel — over and over and over again. They kick, they fall. They kick, they fall. And it seems to go on forever.

But finally one day, after dozens and dozens of failures, their bodies figure it out. It clicks. They can feel it. And with only a little more practice, they can do the move without a second thought. It’s in their muscle memory and it’s easy walking down the street. Well, almost.

That which we persist in doing becomes easier to do, not that the nature of the thing has changed but that our power to do has increased.

Ralph Waldo Emerson had it right. Practice might not make perfect, but practice certainly makes things easier. 

Social skills, math skills, public speaking skills, organization skills — they’re all pretty much like karate skills (and nunchuck skills). They are hard when you start and easier after you’ve done them a gazillion times.

So, if you want do a hurricane kick — or anything else really cool — just do it. Again and again and again.

{ 10 comments… add one }
  • SueBee January 15, 2011, 11:48 am

    So many things we want to do are intimidating just because they aren’t familiar. But you’re right that when we just look at all the hard things we already do, we can see that there is a way to get to the other side. Experience and practice.

  • Bryan Thompson January 15, 2011, 9:21 pm

    Alison, great post. I had this image in my head of the original Karate Kid – with little Ralph Machio painting Mr. Miyagi’s house. He got so frustrated until he began realizing that those movements actually did something.

    My 5 yr-old began ballet this week for the first time. She was practicing in a room with several girls who have been training for a couple of years. My kid was trying to keep up, but she was a bit clumsy. As her parent, it was adorable and humbling, but we know that in a couple of years, she’ll be just where she needs to be. That’s the magic of practice.

    Great reminder of practice. Thanks for the post. And thanks for visiting my blog! I hope to see you around again soon!
    Bryan Thompson recently posted…Are You a Social BananaMy Profile

  • Tini January 17, 2011, 4:29 am

    As with anything, patience and perseverance will pay off eventually. There are cases when you would just be surprised with what you could do after much practice.
    Tini recently posted…SEO Keyword OptimizationMy Profile

  • Alison Moore Smith January 17, 2011, 10:12 pm

    Brian, cheers for your little girl! Learning the value of working toward something and seeing the results of hard work will serve her for the rest of her life.

    Karate Kid rocks. Have you seen the new one? Very good. And when I can do the splits on a balcony railing, I’m gonna blog about it. 😉

  • Bryan Thompson January 18, 2011, 4:37 am

    No, I haven’t seen it yet. I have heard good things about it and will definitely check it out. Thanks.

  • Stacy January 18, 2011, 9:47 am

    Hey this is a great article! Well written, I’ve seen karate kid, that was a great movie I have to say. I liked the part when the kid does the snake move 🙂

  • Mon January 18, 2011, 5:06 pm

    Hi Alison,
    I agree with your thoughts! Persistence and practice is the key to achieving most things. A lot of time we fall down due to a lack of ”keeping going” power, when really all we needed to do was keep practicing! I guess we need to remember that, so thanks for the reminder in your post.
    I enjoyed reading it!

  • Alison Moore Smith January 20, 2011, 1:02 pm

    Absolutely, Tini. We often sell ourselves short without really realizing what we can accomplish with some work.

  • Alison Moore Smith January 20, 2011, 1:03 pm

    Stacy, I thought it was a great family movie and certainly has a great message about perseverance and practice!

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