Your next big revelation might be waiting for you to discover it inside something you think you already know. There’s always more to learn!

I first encountered Advincula Sensei when he flew to North Carolina from California to promote my martial arts teacher, Eric Latza, to 6th degree black belt in Isshinryu Karate. I got to see him perform a couple of katas and remember being inspired (and a little intimidated) by the intensity, power, and precision of his movements. Every punch had a percussive snap. Each kick would pop as it was sent out and instantly rechambered. It was amazing. Fast forward several years and I found out that he would be conducting a seminar in Greenwich, CT; less than an hour from where I was living. So, I inquired and was given the greenlight to come out and take some photographs while he instructed and fine-tuned the participants. What a fantastic opportunity to watch a person with his level of expertise teach, push, play, and motivate a gym full of black belts.

He walked past me once and asked what I was shooting with. It turns out his father was a photographer. He told me how he’d help his dad out and load/reload film into his father’s Graflex Speed Graphic camera. I’d mentioned how I was playing with film on my own because it made me slow down and really think through the rudiments and subtleties of the photo I was going for. He listened as he cracked a smile and got the attention of one of his students.

“Hey Heather,” he said. “This guy still shoots with film.”

“Why would he do that,” she asked?

The grin on his face just got wider and he stopped the whole room. This was a setup. He repeated the question and asked me to give my answer. Coincidentally, it paralleled what he’d be going over with his students; all of them black belts and competent martial artists. The main point being that there was a wealth of mastery in the nuances of the most basic movements. Through mindful practice there is always more to learn and discover if one takes the time to slow down and really think through the rudiments with an open and curious mind.

As is common in martial arts, this is a truth that transcends a craft, art, or discipline and carries over into the rest our lives. Instead of just dismissing something as a thing you already know, get curious. Ask yourself a more mindful question. Ask, “What else can I learn from this?” Your next big revelation might be waiting for you to discover it inside something you think you already know. After all, there is always more to learn.

Arcenio Advincula Sensei teaching traditional Okinawa Karate and weapons at a seminar in CT. He is a martial artist and a first-generation student of the founder of Isshin-ryū Karate, Tatsuo Shimabuku, studied Escrima, Combat Judo and a Black Belt Emeritus from the United States Marine Corps. Essentially, he’s a well-rounded badass!