Practice less, don’t work too hard, it is better for you! During the past few months while I was observing my students (suburi) practice, they appeared to be working very hard and putting every effort into the practice - at least in my presence. Do they really get anything out of the practice? Maybe, maybe not, maybe the technique is getting worse! It is dependent upon how you practice.
I once had a senior student told me that he practiced 300 cuts a day. Another student heard this student’s comment and replied, “I practice 400 to 500 cuts a day", and then another student interjected into the conversation and said, "I practice 1500 cuts a day"! I then asked the last student “how much time does it take you to practice 1500 cuts? His reply was, “around 25 minutes". I then asked, what are you thinking about during these 25 minutes? “I am counting!" I replied, “You better not lose count, or you will have to start all over again!”
Suburi is a repetitive movement technique. If you do it correctly over a short period of time you will show improvement. It is a method of programming information into your subconscious mind – part mentally, and part physically. If you use the correct technique, with each cut you make, you will improve. With the wrong technique, the opposite results will occur.
In the beginning, the body will train the mind to recognize what is the correct movement and what is not. The mind will analyze this information and retain it. After continuous, slow and careful practices, the mind will take on a role in correcting and perfecting each movement.
Each person has their own way of practicing and each teacher will have their own method of teaching. The final goal is to achieve the results and ultimate techniques of perfection. If the goal is achieved, and you have not injured yourself, there is no right or wrong method of practice. My recommendations for the practice of suburi – is to start with slow correct movements, doing each step in detail required for the movement. Then practice until you become tired or have lost your concentration. This could be from 50 to 80 good quality cuts and then you should stop. Any further practicing will not necessarily improve the end result. In fact, you may suffer from injury in your muscles or in your joints. Until your technique has improved, and you have become stronger, then you can consider practicing a little longer. After all, suburi is a life-time of training.
Remember, cut with your mind!