Saturday, September 03, 2016
Last night we were training hard, like we do every class. It was a little different, though, since some of the students are busy preparing for instructor testing at this year's ITA, the Instructor Training Academy for Kali Majapahit in Singapore later this month. Two of my students are testing for Kasama, assistant instructor, and one of my students is testing for Kadua Guro, full instructor, the first time since I started our Japan branch in 2011. I am very proud of them for their hard work and dedication.
They want to do their best, so we are carefully reviewing all the various material, and there is a lot. To test in Kali Majapahit as a Kasama or Kadua you must have a wide range of skills including single/double stick, several styles of empty hands self-defense, boxing and kickboxing, edged weapons, and a lot more. Then, they asked for more cardio at the end.
We train hard and like to get a good sweat going, but they also know that ITA is no joke. It's several long days on the mats, and testing is even harder. When you are testing, there is usually no break during the seminar even for lunch, and you have to run to get water if you get any chance at all. When everyone else rests, you MOVE...and KEEP MOVING. These are the hardest tests I've ever taken. Pacing is very important since some sections may go on for several hours without a break.
My students want to be in the best shape they can be in, and that's good.
At the same time, cardio alone will not get you there, and if we are strong we can be fooled into thinking that using our physicality is the best way to fight. We burn it up during the boxing and kickboxing, hitting the pads as hard as we can every single time. By the afternoon of Day 1, the tank is already empty and the rest of Day 1 and Day 2 are inconsistent and incrementally more difficult. We forget that "How we train is how we fight" and that we always need to have some energy left at the end to walk away.
Many students and even instructors forget that a key to martial arts is EFFICIENCY. The best fighters always do more with less. They have strong bodies, but still look for the easiest, most direct way to accomplish their goals.
FMA are particularly famous for being "lazy" in that we train to go around opposing force and avoid direct strength on strength whenever we can. We use guntings to disable and weaken our opponents, we rely on superior footwork to gain a good strategic position and deliver maximum force when we hit. We use weapons where we can in order to multiply our impact force or use edged weapons which require less effort to employ. Deliberately, we attack the enemy's structure to remove their power base and strength and make them easier to defeat. We fight dirty because fighting dirty is much more efficient. In Kali Majapahit, we know that we will often be in bad odds during a confrontation, so we skew in our favor by being brutally efficient in how we apply force.
This is in direct contrast to many other fighting systems such as Kyokushin, boxing, Muay Thai, for example, which rely on having a stronger, more athletic physique than the opponent.
In fighting, just like in life, knowing when/where/how to get the most return on your effort is the key to sustainability. Especially as we grow older, just relying on physical strength will no longer be enough. It is far far better to focus on developing clean, efficient body mechanics so that the strength needed is minimized and every calorie spent earns the maximum result.
Focus on body mechanics and efficiency rather than just speed and power and your skills will improve much faster.
Make every single movement count.