A lesson my friend and fellow coach Scott Ferguson often teaches his classes is that faster isn’t always better.
He asks his students to add 2+2 and give him the answer. Just as they start to speak, he yells “7.” The point he illustrates is you can be faster but that doesn’t mean you are correct.
In 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey discusses the same concept.
Covey wrote, “If the ladder is not leaning against the right wall, every step we take just gets us to the wrong place faster.”
While the book is chock full of useful information, this little tidbit of truth is huge in martial arts training.
I often tell my students that it doesn’t matter if they are faster or stronger if their effort is not being used in a meaningful way.
How much you can bench press doesn’t matter if the weight is at your feet. Your super fast armbar won’t matter if you can’t control your opponent’s body. You may be faster with a technique, but if it’s the wrong technique for the job, your speed won’t matter.
“Effectiveness––often even survival––does not depend solely on how much effort we expend, but on whether or not the effort we expend is in the right jungle,” Covey wrote.
Effectiveness is doing the right things. Efficiency is doing things right. You need to do the right things before you do them well. Effectiveness first. Then efficiency.
Photo of Judo Olympian Brian Olson teaching juji gatame armbars at The Greatest Camp On Earth 2021.
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