How many times have we heard that practice makes perfect? Way too many, right? Well, I think it's time to point out the issues with practicing, well, anything. You see, when we practice skills such as shooting, self defense techniques, or other such activities, we are simply repeating actions in order to create an unconcious memory of how this action is performed. So, what happens when we make a mistake in our practice routine? Simple, we make a memory of performing that mistake.
Take driving as an example. When you are cruising along the highway at 100km/h and come up behind someone traveling at 90 km/h, we go into the memorized routine of changing lanes to pass. Most of us take the sequence of actions needed to do this for granted and just go with the flow...check side view mirror, check blind spot, signal your intention (not optional as many drivers believe) and change lanes. The problem with this is that you have forgotten to check your rear view mirror first...remember what your driving instructor told you. Now, for the most part, you will repeat this error thousands of times without incident. Then one day, you will end up cutting someone off because you didn't notice them in your side view mirror or blind spot as they whiz down the highway at 140 km/h.
Sure, this is a simplified example, but it proves the point that if you want to practice something in order to make it a second nature action, you must practice it properly, every time. The same principal can be applied to almost anything...shooting, self defense techniques, preserving food, you name it. If you practice the action with an error, you are doomed to perform this error when you really need to do it right.
Practice does not make perfect....Perfect practice make perfect. Always review your basics and never rely solely on your memory.