In a small talk on martial art, my colleague who practices Jiujitsu told me that without training one’s instinctive actions are almost always wrong in a Jiujitsu fight. His statement resonated within me. I would even argue that it is universally true that one’s natural instinctive actions are mostly wrong: not merely in the field of Jiujitsu or martial art for that matter, but also in chess, art, sports and whatever scientific disciplines, and also, not merely for some people, but for everybody. This might sound extreme, but let me explain.
Instinctive actions refer to those that a person spontaneously does without through thinking. The opposite are thoughtful actions. Natural instinctive actions were obtained naturally as opposed to through specialized training. At the most basic level, if an ability was not obtained by birth then it was more or less through training. Training is necessary in order to make a person good at doing something.
How does training make a person good at something?
Obviously, training will supply some domain knowledge. But this is only a very small portion of its benefit. Knowledge alone won’t suffice to make one good. For instance, you wouldn’t swim well if you only read books on swimming. You wouldn’t punch/kick like Bruce Lee by only watching his movies. The major benefit and the main purpose of training is to un-learn your natural/previous instinctive actions and replace them with correct/improved ones. It is only when this purpose is fulfilled that you can say you are good at the thing.
Now the question: Why are our natural instinct actions mostly wrong? I mean, why are we by nature bad at doing anything, and why on earth do we have to go through training in order to become good? I believe you may answer this question scientifically, and actually I believe someone may find some level of answers in any scientific discipline: philosophy, culture, sociology, psychology, biology, chemistry, physics, you name it, but I tend to think that ultimately the fundamental answer lies in man’s Total Depravity. God IS good, as the Bible reveals. Rejecting God, we sinners forsake the Good Himself, and consequently nothing truly good remains within ourselves.
This depravity is “total”, meaning that it exists profoundly everywhere: not only in our spirits and morals, but also in our physical bodies, our capabilities, our thoughts, and even our free wills. In Genesis chapter 3, God cursed the ground for man’s sake. As a result, the physical world has gone against its head — human race — as the latter against their own head — God. The Adam, who previously could enjoy various fruits in the Garden of Eden, now had to eat bread in the sweat of his face and to work in toil for all the days of his life because thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee. All these mean that the entire universe is in a state of corruption and vileness and that any dynamic process is by default going toward a more corrupt, vile, and useless state. It is only by hard work that men could locally and temporarily reverse this process a little bit. This is the fundamental reason why training is necessary.