Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Training The Trainer

(thanks for the inspiration BC)

Martial Arts training is not easy.  For most of us, myself included, the movements are counter-intuitive and unnatural, and the drills are frustratingly difficult.  It is only after long hours of repetition, over weeks and months and years, that the body starts to adapt to what we want it to do.

When people see me on the mats, it looks easy - almost effortless.  The reality could not be further from the truth.  The years teach much the days never know.

When I look back on my own journey, the biggest differentiator in my training wasn't really in what or where I studied, or specifically who I studied under --- IT WAS WHO I TRAINED WITH DAY BY DAY.

Of course, the styles I learned, the dojos I made my home, and the teachers who invested their knowledge in me were a large part of my success.  I have been extremely lucky to have had truly incredible teachers, especially my current one.  However, I feel even luckier for the world-class training partners I have had.  Usually, the teachers showed us movements/techniques and gave us the frame of reference, but we rarely actually got to train with them.  They were always very busy watching the class and giving feedback to everyone.

The training partners, my brothers and sisters, were the ones that worked side by side with me.
They shared their blood, sweat and tears through every class with me.  THEY wanted to learn the skills and improve just as bad as I did.  THEY are the ones who kept me going, who motivated me, who encouraged me, and who made me want to give 100% every lesson.  THANK YOU.  I owe you so much.

Let me be crystal clear --- WE TRAIN EACH OTHER

That means that the quality of your training is dependent on the quality of your training partners, and theirs is dependent on YOU.

Drills are not for our own ego.  They are for training our partner, who in turn trains us.
That means it is critical to be IN THE MOMENT, focused, attentive, alert, engaged in every drill.
This is what we want from our partners, and so it is what we must demand from ourselves.

Feed your partner to his/her maximum ability, and slowly, relentlessly lead them further - just like you will want them to do for you.  Extend all your strikes and cuts to give them something to work on.  The goal is not to hit, cut or touch your partner.  The goal is to TRAIN YOUR PARTNER so their skills improve.  This is the only way you yourself will be trained and improve your own skills.

Lastly, the time we spend in class with our brothers and sisters gives us the knowledge and experience to be better teachers when our time comes (and it will).  The best partners make the best teachers, period.  NOBODY comes to a martial arts class to see how good the teachers are, they come to see how good they can become.

I feel the utmost gratitude in being able to guide all of you on your Kali journey.  You honor me.
Be sure to honor each other, too.  Train each other well, and the memories of those long hours in the dojo will last you a lifetime together.

See you on the mats.


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