In most martial arts, the first techniques that you learn are usually strikes.  (In grappling arts, you learn how to fall without being broken.)  Then, you learn how to not be struck. This is usually called blocking.  Oh, and don’t forget stances, side stepping, dodge, bob and weave, etc., etc.  You spend an incredible amount of time repetitiously practicing techniques as a beginner.  Whenever you hit someone with a hand or foot, what breaks?  Them?  Or you?  If you are grappling, do you win every time?  The martial arts always work perfectly in the dojo.  Funakoshi Sensei said it very well, “Kata is one thing, a real fight is another.”  Please understand that the reference to kata does not just mean an individual form.  This refers to anything that has rules, referees, judges, and a lack of chaos.  Combat (a real fight) is chaos.  How do you overcome this?

Back in the 60’s (I told you I am old!), there was a TV show that spoofed spy movies.  It starred Don Adams as Maxwell Smart.  The enemy organization was called CHAOS, and Smart worked for CONTROL.   It was a hilarious show.  The contrast between the dojo and combat can only be bridged by control.  This means not just control of your basics, physical techniques and knowledge.  Funakoshi Sensei again – “Attitude first, technique second.” 

To learn technique properly, you need the proper attitude.  Then, you are ready.  Did you know that a block and a strike are the same?  That an escape or control are the same?  Do you understand the laws of Physics?  Do you have a knowledge of human anatomy?  Martial arts are like mathematics or music.  They require a great deal of study and practice to just become competent.  The more skill you wish to acquire, the more time you must devote to it.  Be careful.  Know why you want to do this.

M. Proctor


Leave a Reply