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A common complaint heard from new white belts is, "I'm not coordinated." Is this really true?

Coordination is just practice

All white belts walk upright, which is a very complicated skill that requires a lot of precise movements, so they must have a lot of coordination. All people with normal abilities and in good health have good coordination.

Learning a new physical skill, such as a martial art, takes practice. Remember the first time you tried to ride a bicycle, use skates, or drive a car; you felt uncoordinated. However, after some practice, you now perform these tasks with ease. Part of coordination is physical, part is mental, and part is the interaction between the two.

Along with practice comes paying attention. When learning a new skill that requires coordination, you must keep your attention on what you are doing. If you don’t, you will make mistakes and then consider yourself uncoordinated. Once you have perfected a skill, such as skating, you will be able to perform it without constant attention and you will never forget how to perform it. For example, even if you have not ridden a bicycle in 50 years, you will be able to get on one today and ride it with no problem.

Experienced black belts think they have mastered coordination. After seeing a talented black belt perform a complicated pattern or a flashy jump spinning kick combination, you would probably think they have perfect coordination. However, is this true? How would they perform in a coordination test in which they have not practiced?

Everyone has heard of the coordination test of patting the top of your head with one hand while rubbing your abdomen with the other hand, or vice-versa, but that is easy. If you think you are coordinated, try this little test while sitting or standing:
  • Lift your right foot off the floor and make small clockwise circles with it.
  • Now, with your right index finger, draw the number "6" in the air.
Your right foot will change direction and start circling counterclockwise! Practice all you want, but try as you might, you will not be able to control the direction the foot moves.

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