Thank you for taking the time to read this blog. This month I would like to talk about an approach to training that I have always adopted, regardless of what style it was. But is so important now, more than ever before. Since I began my martial arts journey almost 25 years ago, I have always been a stickler for strong foundations, and have always loved to pay particular attention to small details. For me I think this is so important to improving yourself. Often times people get carried away with themselves, and the latest “trend” or “in” thing that is “flashy” and gets the most attention. With the advent of YouTube and digital media it is so easy for people to become exposed to all sorts of techniques and information. Whilst this is not exactly a bad a thing, I often think that people are missing a great deal, by simply studying the basics in great detail.
Strong foundations, and a deep understanding of fundamentals, will actually help learning the advanced stuff, and make it much easier too. So, for me, I firmly believe in studying the basics over and over again. I have taught our GB1 program over, and over, as it rolls round and round. There is a finite amount of material, and it gets repeated continuously. I teach it twice a day on the days it’s in the timetable; and I still love teaching it! I NEVER get bored with it. I still learn about the basics even when I am teaching it. I love getting to grips (no pun intended) with the smallest of details; and am continuously questioning myself about them. And that is actually the key right there… asking questions!
When you study a technique you should always be asking yourself questions… why is it this grip? Why do I put my foot there? etc. Asking yourself these questions makes you find the answers, and understand what you’re doing much deeper. And if you can’t answer the questions yourself…. then ask me! Or someone else! I always used to ask my students of JKD “what is the stupidest question?”… to which the reply was always… “the one you never asked”. As I write this I remember a quote I read a very long time ago, that I shall share with you (Not quoted exactly… it was a long time ago!). It goes along the lines of… “Better to ask a question, and look a fool for a minute… than never to ask, and remain ignorant for a life time”.
This was something that stayed in my mind. I would always ask questions. I was never afraid of looking stupid. I was sure that if I had the question, then there probably would be a bunch of other people thinking exactly the same thing, but too afraid to ask. So please don’t worry about asking me questions… if you want to learn about the technique, or you are having some problems, then please ask me… that is my profession… that is exactly what I am there to provide for you. Don’t take what I say for granted and just accept it blindly… ask me all about it and I will try to answer. If I can’t… I am sure in the end we will both learn and grow better from it. If you don’t have any questions… then go ahead and think of some!
Don’t get distracted by all the latest crazy stuff out there. Get obsessively interested in the basics. Get to know all the ins and outs. Constantly ask questions about every single detail. Try to figure out why… and if you can’t figure it out… ASK!! When you do that… your game will change… and it will make studying the fancy stuff much easier, as you will realise that all the crazy stuff is actually just a “spin” on an old basic. Know the basics and you will easily assimilate all the other stuff.
Ultimately, I am a firm believer in being a “student” of the martial arts. I am there to “study”, and my approach to practising and training is no different from any academic subject. Don’t just come to school and be given a “fish a day”… learn how to fish! So that you can become completely independent. Become an expert in the basics. Have a thirst for knowledge, paying particular attention to small details… and THEN comes the greatest thing of all…. once you have learned and understood something… SHARE that information with your team mates! There is nothing better! We grow stronger together as a team, day by day when we share!! That is the great benefit of being part of such an amazing family! I hope to see you all the mats very soon, and welcome as many questions as possible! Let’s all understand this beautiful art even more…. I love this journey!
Until next time!
See you on the mats!