How to Get Good in the Martial Arts
There was a time when I used to train a lot of security and law enforcement officers. And as time went by, my interests changed and now my focus in the martial arts is totally different. However I always loved training in the reality based martial arts and defensive tactics. If you are training in the martial arts and are interested in self defense, I recommend checking out some of these reality based or defensive tactics courses. At one time I was a fully certified Defensive Tactics Instructor through the PPCT Management Systems Inc., and there was a part of the theory that always stood out with me. It is this theory that I am going to modify and share with you, to help you get good in the martial arts.
This is just one of many approaches to get good in the martial arts, but I feel that you will definitely benefit from it if you go through these steps.
Step 1: Why?
When learning a new technique you have to know the reason why you’re learning it. Pretty obvious right? But you will be surprised how many people just go ahead and mimic their instructor, and not put any consideration as to why they should learn this technique or why it’s important to learn this particular technique. So let’s take a skill, like shielding the kick. It’s important to shield the kick so that 1) take less damage from your opponent’s kick 2) do not get scored on 3) potentially injure your opponent.
Step 2: Is it easy to learn?
Now this could be a tricky one. This is were both the instructor and the student have to put some effort in together, and also make sure they are on the same page. The instructor will have the job of translating their knowledge and experience of the technique in a way that the student can understand it. The student will have to make sure they understand the basis of the technique by confirming the details with the instructor, and by drilling the technique.
Now when drilling the technique you have to invest a lot of time. Sorry, there is no short cut to this. How much time? Some people suggest 10, 000 hours. I have also read that an hour and a half a day is optimum. It will be up to you to do your own research and development.
When drilling the technique, you have to first have to do many repetitions. Perfect repetitions. There is no point doing 10, 000 hours of wrong technique. Then you have to do the set ups for the technique. Then you have to learn the counters. Then possibly the re-counters.
So going back to the shielding of the kick, you have to 1) rep the shield. Have someone with control throw kicks at you 2) have them punch first then kick 3) how would you counter someone that shields? 4) are there any tactics or techniques to avoid those counters?
Step 3: Success in a controlled environment
So now you know why it’s important to learn the technique and you have been doing your time by “repping” all possibilities of this technique. Now it’s time to try it out in a controlled environment. This could mean getting in the ring and doing limited or full sparring, were the emphasis is attacking with leg kicks. If you are successful at blocking the kicks with the shield, you will now have faith and confidence in the technique and your ability to use it in a controlled, yet stressful situation.
Step 4: Success in an uncontrolled environment
This is the true test. When you actually have to use your technique in an uncontrolled environment. This could be in a self defense situation, battlefield combat, or even competition. Even thought a bout in a ring or grappling match is not as uncontrolled as a self defense situation, there is no denying that for some people, the perception is still there that they can get injured, and that the situation is not as controlled, like a friendly sparring match in the dojo.
Let’s suppose during a competitive bout your attacker tries to land a few leg kicks on you. But you’re quite successful at blocking most of them by shielding. It is at this time, this technique will belong to you. You now own this technique. You have the total confidence and experience to pull it off.
This is how Ronda Rousey, the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion, got so good at the arm bar. She owns the arm bar. She will tell you that she’s going to put an arm bar on you, and you can probably do nothing to stop her.
She understands the why, she has put in a lot of flight time in “repping”every nuance of the arm bar, she has had success with it during practice, and she has had a lot of success with it in the UFC. This is how to get good in the martial arts.
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