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Martial arts techniques training is one of the three components which compose the assimilation process or the system of any martial art – press here to read
The C-S-T-T The Theory - concept-strategy-tactics-technique - provides us with an end result - A “list” of mental, physical and technical qualities, which we want to acquire in order to achieve our goals. .
In this article we will talk about the assimilating stage of any technique qualities
Some helpful reading material:
To check out the checklist
The 5 questions any technique must answer...
In other words – What are the training stages, in our martial arts techniques training, which will make our techniques become our natural reactions and reflexes; which will cause them to become our second nature?
The four stages of martial arts techniques training
1. “In the air”.
2. Against resistance – Object feedback
3. With a partner
4. Against a partner
Usually we start teaching a technique in the air, be it, stance, punch, kick, movement,submission holds, tumbling, falling, joint locking, or what ever else.
Executing the technique “in the air”, with out resistance is vital if we want any chance of achieving it well during the rest of the stages
And this is probably the biggest but of this chapter, we should not wait until we do each stage perfect before moving on to the next, due to two reasons:
1. Nothing is perfect, and if we wait until it is, we will never advance past the first stage.
2. Moving on to other stages can help improve the earlier stages.
How ever, there is such a thing as moving forward too soon. The question is whether or not the next stage will help assimilate the technique better or cause us to train and assimilate our own mistakes in order to compensate on bad technique?
More information about "Advancing to early...?"
We will refer to this dilema at each stage. Our rule of thumb, however:
“If we have a doubt whether it’s time to advance or not – better move forward then stay behind”. There are no mistakes that we will not be able to correct in the long run, and we stand to gain a lot more by proceeding.
One more thing to keep in mind - We never finish a stage without returning to it. We will always return to a stage as a way of improving a technique that is not as good as we like
Examining the four stages of martial arts techniques training:
1. Training "in the air" –
This stage is portrayed differently depending on the martial arts:
Kata/Form (with weapons or with out), striking in the air, shadow boxing (to a certain extent), following an opponent and cutting the way, and so on…
During this stage we teach our body the movement cleanly and simply. We try to work with whatever body parts we want to use with the technique - hip, back, legs...When training we should focus and concentrate on our selves and our movments.
Depending on the martial arts techniques trained, it is sometimes best to divide the training of the technique into two stages -
without movement and then with.
Our assumption is that if we can’t do the movement and motion right without any distractions and resistance, then we will, surely, not be able to execute them other wise.
This assumption, in most cases, is true but not always as we’ll soon see…
For instance when punching something. Many times even if the movement in the air isn’t done well, when hitting something, the body teaches it self how to do it properly, and more effectively
2. Training against resistance –
Using training equipment and methods such as:Boxing bags, pad work, weights (sometimes a weapon is used as a weight as well, for instance a saber sword or long pole), stretching rubber, wall bags, makiwara, in the water training and much much more…
We start to train this stage a bit before the next – Working with a partner. Moving onto the next stage depends on how well we execute the technique. Remember we don’t need to get it perfect before proceeding; we will perfect it during the next stage.
Note, that it is not always necessary to train a technique with this stage, sometimes the training drills will not be so effective, for instance-
When training a hand defense technique, we can train it with the help of small weights or training it in the water… This is a good way to train these techniques, but our time might be better spent by training it more with a partner.
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3. Training with a partner –
At this stage we work with our partner (With - being the word of emphasize)For this practice to succeed (not to become against..) We need to agree with our partner on who is doing the initiating and who the responding.
This stage train's, in particularly our timing and response
It also train's the quality of our martial arts techniques execution in an environment that is a bit more intense, and not as comfortable… (To read about the the advantages of working outside your comfort zone) -
We learn to execute our techniques against a real opponent which does not try to resist, but rather trains us in doing so not at our own time.
In partner work it is very important to understand that each partner is responsible for the others development and by adjusting the appropriate pressure and intensity we can achieve it…[More information about "Basics for correct partner training" will be published in the future]
4. Working against a partner –
Training this stage can be done at different difficulty levels, the highest being full sparring.
In no way should this stage “deteriorate” into more than sparring, because then it’s already a fight and it demands a change of state of mind; Our first priority will be to win and survive and not to develop our abilities.
At this stage we can train all of the components of the martial art – mental, physical and technical, depending on the level of difficulty and pressure.
Training in this stage, at first, has to be coordinated, for instance – We can decide that one opponent tries to keep the other at a far distance, and the other tries to get into short and medium distance. Or one train’s trying to take his partner to the ground and the other tries to avoid.
The more rules and regulation we practice with during our training session the easier it becomes, and we should reduce the restrictions only when we’re ready.
This stage if done badly, can cause a reverse effect to the quality of a technique, and behavior achieved and assimilated!
For instance, - If we are afraid of our partner, because of a difference of level and due to the fact that he doesn’t have enough control, we might start blinking, or over committing (kamikaze affect…)
For this reason and more this sort of training has to be observed carefully…
If we see any problems in execution, we either, simplify the training or/and go back to the other stages, to see if we can pick up on mistakes that were assimilated earlier on.
ex.. If during sparring we notice that when punching we take our guarding hand down, we might want to check if we’re doing the same thing when training “in the air”, if it is done correctly at that stage, may be we’re doing it when we’re working with resistance, and so on… Whichever stage we find the problem begins it; from there we begin to fix it…
Sometimes the problem is connected to other components, in the example above, it might be lack of
conditioning – hands get tiered (physical) or maybe a mental problem which causes us extra stress and makes us perform badly (mental); Of course, then, the solutions will be in those areas.
Martial arts techniques training conclusions
Martial arts techniques training, is simple, but has to be monitored, according to the end result. And this result has to be clear, before we start, or else we will be wasting a lot of valuable time.
Let’s try to sum it up:
1. The theory - C-S-T-T –conception–strategy-tactic leads us to our technique.
2. Our technique needs to answer the 5 questions (where, when, how, which and what..)
3. We then train our martial arts techniques in the four stages of our technical training:
a. Training "in the air"
b. Training with resistance
c. Training with a partner
d. Training against a partner
We are never finish practicing the 4 stages of our martial arts techniques training, and always come back to them for reference and improvement.