Wednesday, August 05, 2009


We hear rhythms every day. All around us. There are big rhythms (seasons, lunar cycles), small rhythms (clocks, wingbeats), internal (heartbeats) and external (raindrops, ocean waves) rhythms. Rhythms that are natural and rhythms we create. Fighting has a rhythm as well.

When you watch fighting/boxing on high speed you can see a "flow" between punches, kicks, blocks, counters. There's the rhythm.

When we train, we should learn about our rhythms. Doing kabka and sinawali, doing ubud and panantukan, we should get a feeling of the rhythm of movement between ourselves and our training "opponent". It is important to become able to quickly identify an opponent's rhythm so that it can be used to advantage. At the same time, it is important to learn to move "off rhythm" or "off timing" so that opponents cannot anticipate our actions.

In training, I suggest to start by listening to music all the time. All kinds of music. Listen specifically for bass beats and drum beats, which are the leading tracks of songs, until you can quickly and easily separate them from the rest of the music and focus your attention on them.
Tap your feet to the drum beat and bass beat to match it. Play. See if you can find the "rhythm inside the rhythm" where you can add a beat in between beats occuring in the bass and drum tracks.

Next begin to work your flow to different kinds of music. Although you may have music you like best, try to use as many different types as you can. Work double stick, single stick, espada y daga, boxing. Feel the timing for moving and hitting. Next, try to get inside the beat and add moves in between notes. Use half beats and quarters to add hits to the movements.

When you have gotten comfortable, get a partner. Take turns doing slow and medium level sparring to music (think of Muay Thai, which has music during the matches). Try to use what you have learned to match your partner's rhythm and then get inside it and control it. Have each partner take turns and be careful to avoid injury.

You will become better aware of how rhythms connect movement, and how to get in between these moments to "create time" for your techniques. This will make you a better fighter and help you explore another important aspect of yourself and your world.

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