I am not going to say that these are the hallmarks of a good fighter or martial artist. These just happen to be three things I focus on in my training and in my teaching that I want to share with you this month.
Often times as we learn martial arts we are taught from a template. “This form has this many techniques and here are their uses.” “This is how we apply them.” Far too often, these techniques are regurgitated rather than analyzed. Or perhaps, the instructor only learnt the surface application of the technique and never grasped its concept or use. Many times it is due to the instructor proclaiming he is teaching “Traditional” or “classical”. As an instructor and as a student, it is your job to question these techniques and their uses within the system and out on the street. Otherwise, you are not helping yourself or your martial art grow; you are pushing it into extinction. What you are teaching and learning is “alive” and must continue to evolve as we do. In respect to our teachers and our founders, be more. Show that you have grown into your own man, in order to help continue the art and preserve their legacy.
Why do people think kick-boxing, boxing and wrestling are so much more effective than say, kung fu or other styles of martial arts? Answer, durability, contact and a lot of it. You cannot always pull your punches. You have got to get physical. Spend more time sparring in a semi-full contact setting. Not because there is an MMA craze. It’s because that is the only way for you to know how effective you are and how durable you can be. These martial arts systems were developed for fighting, not dancing or conversation. They certainly were not developed for demonstration purposes.
Not all of us can dedicate everyday to learning a martial art, some of us only once per week. However, we all know that to learn anything, you have to be doing it all the time. Otherwise, it is just a hobby. That is fine too. But right now, I am talking about a martial artist or aspiring fighter. Be more consistent on how often you train and how you train. Going hardcore once in a blue moon doesn’t count. You have to go hard as often as you spend time focusing on the techniques you are learning. Don’t go all out for a week and injure yourself or exhaust yourself and be useless for the rest of the month. Remain consistent and remain effective in how you are training. Set goals and reach them. Then set new goals and reach them. The only comparison should be against you, yesterday.