A form may be a whole, but one doesn’t practice it only from beginning to end. A martial artist, once the directions are know, must pull it apart into segments to practice them separately. Then, he must take those segments and break them down into isolated movements. Only then can he find the parts that need work, the little pieces that need practiced over and over again so that once ready, it can be rejoined with the rest of the form. Know the whole, but mind the little pieces.
It’s not unlike breaking down a large project into deliverable chunks. It’s also not unlike looking at a big problem and cutting it down into discernible processes. Even in the creative process, it’s the small-level focusing that needs to be done with a grand idea or vision. The Impressionists paid very close attention to the mere dots so that together, they become the larger, beautiful portrait that one sees beyond the small, colored dots.
In life itself, too, beyond the big changes and large movements, it’s often the small moments that really count.