It is said, “All roads lead to the same place.” This implies that to become a master at something is the same to master all things.
In order to master a way, it is sometimes helpful to see something from a different vantage point. Therefore it can be helpful to peek in on someone who is considered a master and see what makes them tick. Hopefully seeing how they work somehow helps us in our endeavors.
In the movie Jiro Dreams of Sushi, the food critic Masahiro Yamamoto explains the five traits that master sushi chef Jiro Sukiyabashi has which makes him a great chef.
The five traits that all shokunin or master craftsman have are:
“First, they take their work very seriously and consistently strive to perform at the highest level.
Second, they aspire to continually improve their skills. To be better today than yesterday. To be better tomorrow than today.
Third, cleanliness. If the restaurant doesn’t feel clean, the food isn’t going to taste good.
The fourth attribute is impatience. They are not prone to collaboration. They’re stubborn and insist on having things their own way.
What ties these attributes together is passion. That’s what makes a great chef.”
It doesn’t matter if you are serving sushi or practicing the martial arts. Every serious practitioner has these same five traits. These like every aspect of good manners or character cannot be taught, but can be learned. First, we have to want to be better. Next, we have to strive to be better. Then lastly, we must execute.
For a martial artist, the five rules could be:
1) Be serious about what it is that you do.
2) Strive hard to improve yourself.
3) Be meticulous.
4) Be restless and always do your best.
5) Be passionate about whatever it is you do.
If we can embody these five traits into whatever it is we do, then we too can be a shokunin or master craftsman.