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Training secret

Intro

Is there a martial arts training secret, other than—do more of it?

Secret

Some martial artists train all the time and they are "getting nowhere fast." In Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass, in a scene in which Alice and the Red Queen run vigorously but get nowhere, the Queen explains:
"Here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. 
If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that."
If there is a secret to mastering a martial art, it should be to slow down and "Remember the Basics!"

A martial art, such as taekwondo, is composed of four physical components:
  • Basic techniques
  • Patterns
  • Sparring
  • Breaking
To have any chance of mastering the last three components, you must first master the basics.
Basic techniques (stances, blocks, hand strikes, kicks, and body motion) are taught to all beginning students early in their training. Then, over time, they are taught to perform these basic techniques in patterns, sparring, and breaking.

Some times students forget the basics. Many students, of all ranks, begin to think of a technique as just being a single technique. For example, when asked to perform a round kick, they execute a round kick, with no consideration given to the components parts of the kick that they learned during their first weeks of training.

Because of this, when they use a round kick in a pattern, it looks sloppy; when they use it in sparring, it is usually ineffective; and when they use it in breaking, the boards do not break. Then they get frustrated and try to force more speed and power into the kick, but the kick only gets worse. At this point, the instructor tells them to "remember the basics!"

When a round kick is performed using all the basic motions (high knee and foot chamber, proper foot shape, knee thrust, hip rollover, and a high re-chamber) the kick works. Even when the round kick is performed with lighting speed, each of these motions is still present.

The secret to becoming a great martial artist is to:
Remember the basics!
Train the basics!
Use the basics!
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