Here’s what I would Say

Here I am; it’s almost midnight on Sunday night, and I have no idea what to post about.  Yes, I should have taken care of my post much earlier in the week.  I could probably give some reasons why my post didn’t get done until now, but those would just sound like excuses.  My head and body are very tired and don’t feel like cooperating, but forge on I must.

Generally, I like to post about what my foremost martial arts related thoughts and experiences were in the week.  Earlier this week was March Hagsaeng Naebu meeting, and while I had a wonderful time as always and learned a lot, my foremost takeaways from the meeting are somewhat personal in nature and not appropriate for posting here.  The rest of my week consisted of work, classes, individual training, a lot of driving, and a little socializing.  I could give you the whole rundown, but I don’t think that would be terribly interesting for you.

I don’t have a lot of time for reading blogs, so when I do, I want it to be maximally beneficial to me; I want to find some little nugget of advice or insight that I can takeaway and apply to my life.  That is how I try to go about writing my posts here as well.  It is my hope that I am able to provide a little advice and insight that others might find helpful.  So what could I say thing week that might be helpful (this is what I ask myself before each blog post)?

What is my current foremost thought about physical technique?

Fundamentals are paramount.  I’m not very impressed by flashy or complex technique unless you can demonstrate it working in a high stress environment in which your opponent is actively trying to hurt you instead of standing there on the training mat waiting for you to do the technique on them.  Unless you’ve practiced that fancy-dancy technique a thousand times (and most of you have only done it a handful of times in class) I guarantee you it’s not going to work.  Hollywood movies create this lie that street thugs are uncoordinated and stupid and that martial artists can easily dance around them.  Newsflash: most street thugs fight a lot and so are really good at fighting.   You might overcome a drunk angry frat guy with that fancy one-step technique if you’re lucky, but an experienced street fighter won’t be so easily fooled (unless you’ve really practiced it a thousand times).

Second newsflash: in a real life self-defense situation you’re probably going to have a lot of adrenaline pumping, and while that makes you stronger and faster, it also makes you way less dexterous, so that 8-step fancy one step is now a whole lot harder.  Why make things harder on yourself? Keep things simple.  Any true combat veteran will tell you that real-life self-defense situations are not overcome with mult-step defense techniques.  On the contrary, they generally consist of basic strikes, basic kicks, basic throws, basic joint locks because these techniques require less thinking and are extremely effective.  So why wouldn’t you want your basic techniques to be the best they could be?

Watch this video below.  The music selected by the author might be a bit corny for your taste, but the video depicts four masters of Systema – a Russian unarmed martial art.  The video depicts them taking down opponent after opponent in devastating fashion.  It is noteworthy that the masters take their opponents down with seemingly simple techniques – sometimes just one punch! What is not simple about these techniques is the incredible time and attention that was put into honing these basic motions into techniques of devastating effect.  Take a look.

These masters have such highly refined basic motions that they can overcome even formidable opponents with just basic techniques.  Relaxation and tension, hip motion, center of gravity, full body motion, and joint angles all play critical roles in these techniques.  If you want to master your basic motions, these are sorts of things that need to start mattering a whole lot to you.  Never stop developing your basic motions.  Never stop caring about your fundamentals.

What do you think?

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