Monday, December 29, 2008


We had a special Xmas Day training (before one of the most memorable Christmas dinners EVER). The focus task this time was to force ourselves to avoid the most common technique chains, and invent new solutions to each entry. It means forcing your body to go against what you have programmed, your "favorite" responses. A very challenging exercise.

This is critical.

We have discussed before how "intellectualizing" techniques causes limitations in speed and responsiveness, and how muscle memory is needed to fully take advantage of our body's natural ability to react. Also important is the active training to break those very links we have tried so hard to put in place. Sounds counter-productive, right?

In order to be a well-rounded fighter (and to free ourselves from limitation, in a more spiritual sense), we must break the muscle memory chains we forge. This forces us to expand our scope and range of responses, and keeps us from being limited to just those techniques and solutions we are most comfortable with. Failing to do this means that whole areas of technique will become stale and rusty, and we will never truly develop the kind of "intuitive creativity" needed to fully express ourselves. This free self-expression is at the heart of what Kali Majapahit and all good martial arts training strives to achieve - Freedom of movement (mentally and physically).

Metaphorical discussion aside, as fighters we are only as good as our least common denominator. That means that if we are good at kicking, we need to force ourselves to train our punching more. If we are good at striking, we must push ourselves harder in grappling. If we excel at physical technique, we must place emphasis on chi kung and internal energy.

Training the lowest common denominator should always be an integral part of our training, since it is that very weak spot that is our most vulnerable, and where a sensible opponent will aim their attack strategy.

The idea is counter-intuitive. It is much more fun to work the things we are best at in order to get even better at them. Training our weak areas means we must be honest about our poor technique and accept our lack of expertise. This is also an important part of overcoming our ego and finding the yin/yang balance within ourselves.

The best teachers will always push hardest on our weak areas.

Breakdown training is a real "brain-burner", but the benefits are undeniable. Work it and see for yourself.

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