After teaching an unnecessarily confusing lesson the other day I have decided to write a piece about how to learn a martial art.
During the lesson I taught some things that were a little too complex for some of the students in the class. These things were not conducive to the learning process and could have been detrimental to learning. Having realised this (not on my own) I shall write how to learn a martial art and be sure to keep all future lessons in keeping with the needs of the student.
Learning a martial art is a long and difficult process. It requires dedication from the student at an individual level and only you can bring yourself to the end of the road. Having said that it is the responsibility of the teacher to guide the student down the correct path to best benefit them.
The important thing to remember is that it is a long road. A short while ago I had a revelation in my own training and came up with the saying 'You don't have any of it until you have all of it'. This means that although there will be stages of your training where you will feel confident that you can survive in an altercation in the street, defeat an opponent in a competition or know kung fu, until you have mastered the martial art you have chosen there is always the possibility that one person can execute the one technique that you do not yet have an answer for.
It is very important in martial arts to learn the basics first. The stance, how to step correctly, how to punch correctly and how to defend correctly. This is why we have forms and drills. They are to teach the student correct application of their bodies as well as their techniques. This is also why we have the motto of 'train slow learn fast, train fast learn slow'. If you try to jump in too deep too early you will not have proper control of yourself and therefore will not have proper control of the situation. As you know the key to martial arts is control of the situation, that is what we train for.
Our syllabus is structured to teach the student the basics of fighting before moving them on to the Chi Sau (Energy arms) element of training. The Chi Sau training is merely a tool to allow the student a tactical advantage in controlling a situation in that they can know where they and their opponent are without using their eyes but instead by using their tactile responses.
When training it is vital that you learn the basics well. These are the foundations of everything that you will build on top of them. As well as being a good and solid foundation, learning the basics well will develop the habit of learning everything well. This is for your own benefit and bear in mind that your kung fu is only for you and only you can make it happen.
The way to learn a martial art is;
- To train well and to the best of your ability at all times.
- Be mindful of yourself and learn to listen to what your body is telling you.
- Train only for yourself and do not concern yourself with the others around you.
- Be patient, the road is long but the benefits are worth the time and effort put into it.
- Take it to the end, you will gain nothing for giving up halfway through.
- Allow your teacher to guide you but correct him if you feel he is taking you on the wrong path or onto a path for which you do not feel ready.
- Learn to understand the science of the art you learn this will give you a deeper understanding of why you do what you do.
- Play with what you have learned try it out in different ways and see what may be done with it.
I think my next blog will be some of the quotes that have inspired me throughout my own training.