Creativity and Imagination are essential ingredients for maintaining and deepening interest and fascination on our never-ending journey as students. Master Tri Dang used to say that copying or following someone else’s practice is OK in the beginning; but if we always continue this way, it never really becomes yours; a unique expression of your own limitless potential.
If we are afraid as students to experiment, create, and imagine alternatives; then we cannot manifest our own voice which adds such beauty and harmony to the existing corpus of any method passed down to us by past masters. This is the natural way methods evolve and grow over time via spontaneous enhancements and changes.
As an example, a jazz musician can spontaneously solo within an established structure of a well-known song only after learning all of the foundational basics “By Heart” (e.g. scales, riffs, etc.). In short, mastery of basics must occur before the spontaneity can manifest. Similarly, we must practice and master the foundational elements before creating our own songs.