Friday, November 12, 2010

House Building 101

When it is time to build a house, great care must be given to the foundation. No matter how pretty the rest looks, if the foundation is weak, the house will be weak. The bigger the house intends to be, the stronger the foundation to keep it there.

In our martial arts, foundations mean many things.

First of all, foundation means footwork and balance.
So much of what we do depends on having strong, stable footwork which puts us in advantage, and our opponents in disadvantage. No matter how pretty the technique, lack of footwork will lose the fight every time. The drills are often boring and repetitive. They don't look sexy or cool. However, there are few better uses of time than doing balance and footwork drills for improving overall fighting ability. Good fighters spend a large part of their training time on footwork to make sure it is instant and intuitive.

Strong foundations also mean strong basics. We all want to learn the next cool jumping kick or sophisticated trap. However, in reality, the muscle memory we have the best is the basics. Those basics are what we return to under stress, and what make the difference between walking away and being carried away. Basics must be drilled until they are instinctive. These basics combine to form the building blocks of the rest of the techniques we learn.

Especially in an integrated art like Kali Majapahit, where common concepts are reused irrespective of weapon or distance, the basics are our vocabulary for building fluency of expression. Without good basics, you can never flow.

Be patient. Take the time to build a strong foundation of basic techniques and balanced, correct footwork. Once you do this, your house will withstand any storm that comes your way.

needed a better foundation...

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