Bruce Lee is attributed to having said the following:
I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.
Let’s explore both cases:
- 10,000 Kicks 1 Time: This person will probably have a wide range of knowledge, but his execution might be sloppy and probably not effective. Additionally, this person will likely only have a superficial understanding of each of those kicks.
- 1 Kick 10,000 Times: This person will have a mastery of that 1 kick, it’s usage and will probably know all the ways in which to execute the kick. Plus, the endurance gained from doing one thing 10,000 times will come out in battle to the dismay of the opponent.
What does this have to do with Lean?
Let’s face it: there are many, many people interested in learning and becoming proficient in Lean. But, I argue that many gain a superficial understanding of Lean because they are applying the 10,000 Kicks and 1 Time approach. What is required is thoughtful repetition – doing the same thing, over and over again, but improving each time. NOT, the new and fancy “lean tool” that is cool at the moment.
At bottom, rigorous and thoughtful practice of PDCA daily is the approach of the 1 Kick and 10,000 Times mentality. Indeed, that is the essence of Lean Learning.
For your enjoyment, below is very old original footage of Bruce Lee demonstrating Wing Chun, the original martial art he studied and the art that is the foundation for what he later calls Jeet Kune Do.