The importance of mastering the basics

I practice Kenpo, and in Kenpo there are a lot of technical moves and long combination attacks. Some are very flashy, others bare-bones practical. All moves, however, require clear knowledge of the basics. M. Parker referred to these as the A,B,C's of Kenpo, and they absolutely cannot be underestimated in their importance.

Many of the moves the three early belts use are applicable, but not always optimal in sparring or a fight. The moves, however, teach principals that are necessary to advance as a practitioner. Principals like timing, balance, sinking and weight shifting, stance, etc. Oftentimes, a beginner will try to just "get passed" these moves so that they can learn the important, higher level stuff. As if mythical "touch-of-death" moves are just waiting to be learned by whomever rushes forth.

However, without a firm foundation, an understanding of the concepts, and the patience to develop over time, a person cannot advance. Out of every 100 people who start a martial art 94-96 never get to black belt. I don't believe this stems from the training being to difficult, but from the training being realistic. In an age of miracle diets, insane workouts, and magical machines that will make you ripped... too many people are simply unwilling to invest in programs where you get out what you put in. I believe this is most evidenced by an unwillingness to commit to mastering the basics.