We all have seen in the movies how the hero has these incredible moves and does these miraculous defensive counters that makes it looks like he knows what his opponent is going to do even before his opponent does. Additionally, in this day and age we see tons of additional videos on YouTube where Martial Artist appear miraculously skilled, able to solve unbelievable defensive situations.
Now grated, these are all staged, practiced and edited. However, they are based on a level of truth that for some strange reasons critics want to discount as completely phony. First, lets look at this a little differently. Consider the sport of boxing. We watch boxers interact with very accurate combinations of punches each designed to set up the next punch and each working both independently and yet working together regardless of the success of the previous. They move, avoid, block and strike with recognizable skills. If during any of these exchanges one of the strikes land as exactly planned and staggers the opponent, the attacking boxer takes full command and ideally ends the fight being victorious.
What we don’t see is the hours and hours of training in which the victorious boxer worked on that combination over and over. Working it on the heavy bag, with a coach and mitts, with a sparring partner. Determining all the moments that it would work correctly and the moments and conditions in which it didn’t work. The boxer literally “internalizes” the combination to the point it feels “automatic.” At the moment during the fight, the boxer recognized or capitalized on the conditions that allowed him success and the combination and/or parts worked precisely as designed.
For the spectators it seemed like an amazing moment in which “magic” happened. It becomes the spectacle that elevates to a historic highlight reel and yet the critics of the Martial Arts merely credit the boxer for his preparation and skills.
Without a doubt even among Martial Arts fans and teachers there is tendency to argue that practiced moves just aren’t going to work and are impractical. At times we tend to be our own worse critics and yet still continue the practice of maintaining the teaching practice. I often have the opinion “Yes, that may be possible but I’m not good enough to do it.” For Attitude First, we temper our understanding with our definition of Logic- “What’s useful, what’s unuseful and what’s useless at a given set of conditions.” In our training, we work on patterns of defenses that have unique follow ups and interesting solutions designed to subdue our opponent. The reality is “No’ they won’t work if the conditions are not available and/or if the skills required are not developed.
The design of the moves are very strategic however they must be supported with skills and understanding of timing and use of power. None of which are instinctive to everyone. For most it will require hours of development with an understanding that there are levels of success that are acceptable. Additionally, with modicums of success there are opportunities to move towards related strategies and/or alternative solutions. Again, which require experience and training to develop an understanding so that these opportunities are recognizable.
Ultimately, with training and development the opportunity to improve the sensory relation between thought and action is possible. Like other athletes, developing repetitive moves that an observer believes is almost “magical” can be achieved. In the moment of execution they can be experienced as almost automatic and without thought. However, again it’s not magic it is a process of dedicated and disciplined training. Training that involves success and failures allowing for the practitioner to learn from both. Gaining a deeper understanding of how patterns of motions work and interact with each other.
Embrace the opportunities for achieving your goals of improving your chosen skills… that’s the true magic!