Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect. Practice just makes permanent.
Train it the way you want it to end up.
Put quality time and effort into your practicing. On your own time, do all of the drills your teacher has been doing in class: footwork, point control, posture… Be sure that you are comfortable with how to move your body, and how to move the weapon.
Know your choreography so well, that you even know what your partner is doing at all times. Videotape, make notes, speak your choreography like you are self-narrating.
After you have the basic sequence of events, start refining. Don’t just repeat, repeat mindfully. There’s an element of Practice within Rehearsal, too. Ask yourself:
- Am I communicating with my partner?
- Am I aware of my breathing?
- Am I being clear with my attacks?
- Am I inviting my partner to their next target?
- Is that target precisely where I should be placing it?
- Is the angle of the blade what I’m looking for?
- How’s my distance?
- How’s the weight of my blade or limb? (am I smashing into the attack or parry?)
- Am I making choices about the rhythm?
- How are my stances?
- Am I grounded?
Whether in a workshop or in rehearsal for a show, professional behavior is to do these self-corrections to the best of your ability. Everyone needs an outside eye at some point, but when you practice (solo) effectively, you will maximize your time with those outside eyes (your partner, Fight Director, Fight Instructor and so on). This is how you can bring your best into the rehearsal room, showing respect for your colleagues, for yourself and for the art.