Improve it, evolve it or forget it
We love shiny toys and new things that look cool and or have that wow factor, this is obvious in the way that we buy new cars, the latest clothes. trends, gadgets and the latest get rich scheme (bit coin) hoping that it will solve all our problems and so on.
Martial arts and training is a little like this, we are always collecting more and more techniques or the newest fad or training method, we watch an instructor and think that’s cool I am going to do that in my system/workout. MMA comes a long and everyone thinks that they need it or they must put it in their system.
Over my 48 years of martial arts training I have performed and forgotten more techniques than I care to remember, studying the usual styles and systems of fighting such as Shotokan/Goju ryu karate, Jujitsu. Thai Boxing, Judo. Aikido. Kyusho jitsu (Pressure points) Boxing etc. and some styles that most martial artists would not even come across or heard of such as Burmese Bando. Elephants fist kung fu (I think it was made up by the instructor during that seventies Bruce Lee phase but I still tried it!)
Now as I look at my training with fresh eyes I look at the things that are essential to doing good quality martial arts and ask myself when I try something new. Does it have value or are you doing it because it is cool or the latest trend? How can I improve upon what I am already doing? We should not just collect baggage, techniques, systems or styles. Our training should always evolve and if it is not useful or does not serve a specific purpose then we should discard it. Try not to get sentimentally attached to something just because you like it or are good at it and or it looks cool.
A good place to start with is posture and ask yourself the following questions.
Am I in good posture? When I move or engage with an opponent do I still have good posture? What is my mental posture like? Am I calm to allow the body to blend with the opponent and do what is necessary without a thought process or thinking about a prearranged set of techniques? What is my environmental posture like?
When a student first comes to me for training the first thing I do is look at their posture and give them a task like applying an arm bar on an opponent to see if they lean, I then know if they have studied posture.
Posture is one example but there are so many other things to take into consideration like;
Using the core, being on centreline, absorption, deflection, projection, focus to the smallest point, no foot movement without a corresponding hand movement and visa versa, create voids for your opponent to fall into, management of spaces, nearest available weapon to nearest available target, hip to hip, no flat edges, occupy the space of your opponent, focus to the balance points, mobility, sticking, control, three way action, create a moving base, spirals, circles, dots, management of spaces, don’t make shapes your comfort zone, by pass structure, kinetic loading and so many more.
There are at least another 350 principles to do and not one of the things mentioned above is a single technique.
Makes you think to yourself that it does not matter what techniques you use as long as you apply the principles in the techniques.
If anyone would like a list please just mail me and I will send one out to you.
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‘’Improve it, evolve it or forget it.’’