No matter how long I have been practicing Karate I find it extremely important to always check and re-check my foundational basics. How is my stancework, breathwork, hand and arm location and most importantly, my mind-work? This is why I am so grateful for teaching and having white belts. It makes me not only teach these but look at myself critically, so I can be a good role model.
I encourage all of my Yudansha and upper ranks to take the time and check their basics. It is so easy to get sloppy after years of study. You find yourself interested in new techniques, which is good for growth, but it is easy to lose focus of the basics. My personal workouts, on many occasions, are just the basics. These are the foundational and core strengths that 'advanced' techniques flow from...and work from. Without the foundation all the cool looking stuff we do simply won't happen.
Since Karate is a microcosm of everyday life, I then ask myself, "What are the basics of living?" What are the foundational basics of everyday life? Am I doing these well? For my life, zazen is a foundational basic. Without it I tend to get lost in my monkey mind and find myself getting stressed out, blood pressure raises and irritability reigns. The attitude of my sitting practice I attempt to take with me while I eat, sleep, walk, work, play, etc. This makes all the difference for me. What about you?