• Yehudit Zicklin-Sidikman

Practice Makes Progress



Many of us grew up hearing our elders chiming “practice makes perfect.” Right? That always rubbed me the wrong way, though I am not sure why. Years after I first heard this phrase, I heard a variation at the YMCA International Judo camp in upstate New York where Sensei Sid Kelly would tell us that “Practice makes permanent. Perfect practice makes perfect.” And while I liked that better, and have found myself quoting him many times over the past two decades, it still didn’t fully sit with me. While discussing how we are planning to bring some of our lessons online, Sensei Wendi Dragonfire gave me the statement I was looking for: “Practice makes progress.”


“Practice makes progress.”

It reminded me of an argument (a religious argument, mind you) I had had many years ago as to whether or not our actions are either bringing us closer to G-d (or our goals in life) or further. In other words, are our actions a step forward, honoring G-d, or a step backward, ie. a sin? My response was that not everything that I do brings me closer to being perfectly aligned with my goals. That doesn’t mean I am reverting to desecrating the earth or “sinning.” It just means that some days, I can’t be bothered to rinse out the ziplock bag that I probably shouldn’t be using in the first place. So while my intention is to be more mindful of how I use the world’s resources, I am not always perfect.


Yes, I'm learning more. Yes, I'm committed to my practice. The more I do practice, the better I get, and the more progress I make.

Yes, I'm learning more. Yes, I'm committed to my practice. The more I do practice, the better I get, and the more progress I make.

This is no different when it comes to practicing the skills we learn in self-defense classes. As we practice, with the goal of being more empowered and clear in our needs and boundaries, we make progress. We don’t always get it right every time. It takes practice. I can’t even tell you how many times I have thought, “Dang, I should have said something.” So don’t give up on practicing. Practice makes progress. And progress is a sign of moving in the right direction.