I am new to martial arts training, but it seems that I keep doing a lot of the same thing over and over in class. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I guess I did expect to have something shown – you know, like – new each class. Is this normal? Because I’m getting kinda bored and thinking about quitting.
Well, I encourage you to stick with it. It’s not uncommon for a Sifu to use repetition in training. Repetition is very important, if the student is guided correctly through the process. It helps with things like the following:
- Learning to perform the right form or technique of motion, a mechanical learning phase that not only introduces the student to a technique but has them master motion and position, breathing and structure.
- Developing the right mind in relation to each technique is something that takes more time than the mechanical learning, and includes things like the restructuring of mind in relation to proper technique, breathing and other related factors.
- The proper use of energy (or chi) is next, and leads to versatility in the use of the technique. Things like speed, release of energy, power and other factors are mastered, along with use of technique in the face of force or pressure from your opponent and other things.
Over time, you’ll find that the understanding you gain of the technique is greater than the technique itself. You’ll come to recognize and understand the principles involved and begin to see when and where you are using them correctly and incorrectly – for positive training outcome – and when your opponent is using them correctly and incorrectly – for positive self defense outcome. And, over time, you will learn to marry the various principles into a symphony of motion that is practical for the situation you find yourself. (That’s when you get to see the diversity of potential in the martial art played out, as you may have expected to see before joining class. That’s also when it becomes your kung fu.)
It is a lot like learning a language. You may spend a life time learning the definition and spelling of words, but how do you put them together? So, you learn sentence structure, punctuation, proper paragraphing, so on and so forth. But, how to you learn to relate to people to reduce confusion or misunderstanding (i.e., get your point across)? So, you may learn different dialects so you can understand your audience and communicate to them in a language they’ll understand. But, how do you determine beforehand who your audience is? Ah, you can’t always do that! So, what do you do? You become versatile. And, how do you do that? By taking your understanding of the language you’re using and repeatedly challenging yourself with others to gain understanding and ability to communicate.
That’s self defense training. The repeated use of principles to gain further versatility and ability (i.e., doing what you intend to do the moment you intend to do it) in the face of potentially life-threatening conditions.
Be patient. Trust yourself. And empower yourself to life!™ through dedicated training. You’ll get there with the right direction, if you put things in the right perspective and don’t give up.
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If you have a question or subject you’d like to see me address on my blog page, or if you have an interest in learning self-defense in or around Tallahassee, Florida, write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.