If you have just begun your training in martial arts you know it can become very frustrating. You can feel lost in the material. Confused on a technique. Or you feel like you are behind where you should be. All of the these factors make starting martial arts difficult for the newbie. In this article, 3 Training Cycles of Martial Arts, we will explain a concept that will hopefully help you push past the first slump.
The 3 Training Cycles of Martial Arts
There are 3 basic stages of learning a new technique. Once you understand these stages you will be able to identify where you are and what you need to work on. What you must understand is everyone develops different. Some learn the initial technique faster than others. Yet those same students may struggle in applying it. Everyone learns different. You must accept where you are so you can focus on YOUR development. Don’t stress about the progress of others. That being said, lets look at these 3 stages.
Stage 1: Programming
The first stage of training begins with programing. This is exactly like installing a new system into a computer. It takes time. When a new technique is shown it comes with a new set of motor functions the body is not used to. To overcome this the body needs time to “program” the new function into the “hard-drive”. Some students are more prone to certain techniques. Maybe they grew up doing a certain sport that had a similar movement to what they are learning now.
For instance, in Wing Chun there is a lot of rooting through the heels. If someone spent a lot of time lifting growing up they might be able to grasp that concept a little quicker. As opposed to someone who played soccer for instance. They would have been taught to always be in their toes. Therefore, they would need to spend more time teaching their body to draw power from the heels then the first person.
Stage 2: Application
Secondly, after you have learned what the new technique is and how to perform it you must learn WHEN to perform it. This is called application. One technique can have many applications and then variations from that original. Applying the technique must also be treated like the programing because you are learning how to time it against an attack. You must be attacked over and over again to get the timing down.
Along with timing the technique another very important part of application is learned and testing: structure. Without structure a block or attack will be ineffective no mater the timing. Just like gold is refined in fire so must the structure of a technique be refined through the fire of pressure. Pressure testing your structure helps develop your shapes that shadow training (or practicing in the air) can never do. Real attacks must be thrown and you to really develop your structure. Combining the timing and pressure training will give you the ability to fully apply your techniques.
Thirdly, the final stage of developing your technique is reaction. You have could structure and timing, but how will your fair when you do not know when the attack is coming? Reaction is the hardest part of training. You must build one technique at time. Learn how to react to one certain attack. Once you have dealt with that you build again from step one. Program a new technique; apply it to real attacks; react to it in a sparring scenario. You must learn how to deal with skilled and un-skilled attacks. Single attackers and multiple attackers. As well as Feinting, counter striking, grappling, High-low hit combos. All of these things and more must be thrown at you.
In conclusion, this cycle must be repeated over and over again. Day by day, technique by technique, this must be done. Consequently, if you stay consistent with your training you will master every technique given to you.