The world of modern martial arts is full of commercialized schools with watered down training. In an attempt to please the masses, martial arts has become what people want it to be and drifted away from what it was. The following is a list of common Lost Qualities of Modern Martial Arts. Some of these are either severely lacking or missing entirely.
Lost Qualities of Modern Martial Arts
The art of manipulation
The ability to make your opponent do exactly what it is that you want them to. This may mean causing them to react to something that you throw and then exploiting their reaction. Or using their previous attack to your advantage by controlling it and guiding it into your next attack. Manipulation also involves the use of feints and other misleading maneuvers that end in a desired response.
The art of timing
Timing is an essential martial art skill, and most learn it through trial and error. The problem with this approach is that it takes a very long time for the practitioner to be able to execute proper timing and even longer to understand what they are doing. Timing training can and should be supplemented with drills that specifically target the skill.
Ducking, bobbing, and weaving
Too often do we choose to rely exclusively on the blocks that our art has taught us, while completely ignoring the fact that we don’t actually need to even make contact with the attack. Not only does this eliminate the blow, but we are also able to keep both of our hands up and ready to attack at will.
Development of senses
This quality refers to both improving our natural senses and becoming more aware of our surroundings. Improved senses naturally increase our situational awareness and both lend themselves to increasing our personal safety. Allowing us to be able to effectively use our martial art skill.
Though highly prized by some schools, many others choose to ignore the benefits of conditioning. The body should be able to withstand a good degree of abuse in order to have the confidence to be an effective fighter. Odds are that you will get hit, what counts is that you are able to come back from that hit and power through – causing more damage to your opponent.
Developing intent over instinct
Many fighters prove to be either overly intentional in their movements or overly instinctual. A good martial artist will develop a fighting style that balances these two traits, and develops the muscle memory required to execute it. To a point where they are strategic, yet also reactive with good instincts.
Proper breath control
Developing appropriate breathing supports each and every martial art technique. Allowing for more focused and powerful strikes. As well as better cardiovascular function and endurance during a match.
Familiarity of pressure points
When all else fails, it is always nice to know how to exploit pressure points. Often times it is the more muscular men that are more susceptible to this exploitation, due to the greater surface area and nerve endings the muscles bring.
Simultaneous blocking and attacking
Many martial arts will focus on blocking an attack, and then following that block with a strike. Instead of choosing to defend and attack at the same time. They get stuck on their traditional blocks while the opposite hand just idly sits and waits.
Development of character and personal strength
Finally, martial arts is not in its’ entirety about fighting. A true martial artist aspires to better themselves in every area of their life, from their character to their physical fitness. They choose to respect themselves and others, and strive to pass on the great knowledge that the martial arts has taught them.
All martial arts were designed during times of strife in order to combat the ugliest parts of humanity. You must keep these in mind during training to ensure the original intentions of these arts are not forgotten. Does your school incorporate all, some, or none of these qualities?