Artwork courtesy of BillyYong
In learning a new skill or developing mastery in one, consistency is a key enabler. What is consistency? Is it being able to get things right eveytime? No, that would be precision, and a high level at that. Is it persistent effort in intense practices? No, that would be intensity-based practices.
Consistency is about working on something, following the core principles of the art, regardless rain or shine. Yet, it can be challenging to maintain a consistent effort- it is easy to give way to boredom or feel like one has plateaued without any meaningful sense of progress.
As Malcom Gladwell puts it: it takes 10,000 hours of intensive practice to achieve mastery of complex skills and materials. Consistency produce the patterns overtime, that we or our teachers may observe, analyze, and study for breakthroughs to the next level of growth. In the meantime, the time and effort invested in practice helps build the foundation - it could well be muscle memory, reflexes, or physical strength for the next level of technique.
The consistency in input (practice effort) and the patterns produced (your kata) collectively could provide clues to what to focus on next in the practice regimine. In a way, we/ our teachers discover what is working and what does not work, then provide feedback. We then incorporate feedback from teachers and try to improve. These require patience, a deliberate mind towards discovery and an open mind towards learning.