I started martial arts in my late 30's. Like everyone who begins, I had my own personal reasons to start. My son was involved and I thought it would be easy enough for me to do the same thing. Karate was my first experience into martial arts. I moved into Aikido for a number of reasons, and I made it to black belt. Great right? It took all that time for me to understand what my instructor said to me about moving through the ranks, “A black belt is mastering the basics.” Being a white belt again. It is what you do after that black belt that refines what you learned and you expand upon it.
Agile is a term used in software development and has its roots in martial arts. The “Shu”, “Ha” and “Ri”. Those in martial arts should recognize these terms. The goal of any agile team is to become “Ri,” to move beyond just mastering the basics but then to become the practitioner - bending the spoon (a reference to "The Matrix"). In other words, we are looking at what the field of education calls "the Dreyfus model of skill and acquisition." Everyone has heard the terms of novice, advance beginner, competent, proficient and expert, and we can even put a color belt to each one of these terms.
Let’s go back to my opening statements regarding the discussions and sometimes arguments in the martial arts community regarding technique, rank, traditional versus nontraditional styles, etc. As you can see, martial arts is more than just a sound bit or two. It has become part of the evolution of business and technology. People move to “Ri” at different paces and bring different experiences to the table to refine a technique or style. Nothing stands still, it's fluid like water. “Don’t try to bend the spoon. It is impossible just realize truth, there is no spoon. It is only yourself that bends.”