“Kaizen (改善), Japanese for “improvement” or “change for the best”, refers to philosophy or practices that focus upon continuous improvement…”

The Japanese Arts and Philosophies pervade the American experience of the Martial Arts. At some point, I expect Kaizen to make its way into the Martial Arts as it has in many American businesses. The Martial Art I expect to see it in the most is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

I can’t roll with a group of Blue or Purple Belts without one of them telling me they are stuck on a plateau, meaning, they aren’t improving. I remember when I was approaching this Martial Art more traditionally, I too, would find myself on a plateau. The question is, how can we continually improve in the Martial Arts? Where is the Kaizen?

With my background, I can’t help but think of it in terms of anatomy and physiology. the functional unit of the body is the sensorimotor loop. It has to do with how we feel (not just emotionally) and how we move. I believe sensorimotion to be the key to Kaizen in the Martial Arts.

Success within the Martial Arts is largely predicated upon how well someone moves and how well someone perceives (seeing, feeling, etc). So if you find yourself on a plateau, ask yourself – is this a problem in how I’m moving my body, how I’m perceiving my opponent’s movement, or both? Once you have the answer to that, it’s time to Drill it. Questioning and Drilling is the way out of a Plateau…and a way to Kaizen.