Ariel Coleman

Illustrator & Printmaker

The Art of the Freestyle

Personal DevelopmentAriel ColemanComment

Before you can go to the gym and just work out, you have to learn to work out. Before you can whip up a bowl of ramen from random ingredients in your fridge, you have to make ramen from a recipe and learn the basic principles... of ramen.

This idea applies in so many arenas. The more you practice, the better you get, and once you get good enough, you can freestyle. 

We're always praising the freestylers, the masters, the zen yogi's who have every pose so beautifully imprinted in their mind they can flow through a sequence without batting an eyelash, they can make it up as they go. The master makes it look easy, makes it look beautiful, graceful, effortless. We praise these masters, and their art. We put ourselves down as simple practicers, or followers, googling the difference between a "brown onion" and a "yellow onion". Following along and trying to make our poses look like the yoga instructors, as mere practicers, we're never good enough, never the true master. 

This thinking is all wrong though, the masters aren't anything more than just practicers plus time. Their art and ability to freestyle, is simply a function of the hours they've put into their practice. Hours of focus, of dedication, spent practicing. In fact, most masters still consider themselves practicers and always will. There is no end goal in this life, no final stage where you stand back and chalk your whole life up to what you are at the end of it. This whole life, everyday, is a practice, and always will be. The only thing we can aim to do, is keep on practicing. 

We praise these masters, for something they've achieved, but it's not anything we each couldn't achieve ourselves. I truly believe, that anyone, with enough practice, can make an amazing bowl of ramen. That anyone with enough dedication, can become a master of whatever craft they seek to practice. Be it finance, be it guitar, be it art, the practicer can be the master, as long as you seek the practice and remember it will always be a practice. You might get better, but you'll never stop learning, you'll never get to the end of anything, you'll just keep going on and on.

With my third attempt at free styling ramen now behind me, I've decided I will stop attempting to be a ramen master, and remember I'm just a practicer. Following recipes is good, you don't have to compost half a package of rice noodles and 4 carrots if you just follow a recipe.