Hi, everyone! In the fourth- and second last part of this five-part series of posts we are going to look at preparation as a key to victory.
We have heard the saying "Fate favours the prepared".
If you are a lawyer that is due to be in court soon you know you will take some time beforehand to prepare.
Musicians rehearse and do sound checks before concerts...
When it comes to martial arts we probably think of the hours of training that get put in by great fighters.
As someone who loves movies and comics preparation for battle immediately reminds me of the king of preparation in the superhero world- this includes both DC and Marvel by the way-
The words "Batman" and "prep-time" often get used together in Facebook comments, posts and memes. Any fan will tell you that Batman has bested even super-powered adversaries with good preparation.
Shadow of the Bat #0 said that Batman has learnt about the value of preparation from the Ninjas.
Now here is a great source of awesome stories about preparations that had helped warriors escape death or bring it to their enemies...
In the 16th century Japanese castle guards would tell each other about a Ninja's ability to jump over high walls. The source of these stories most likely lie with the springboard that was hidden near the wall before the Ninja had to take flight.
Another popular Ninja myth is that of the Ninja being able to make false copies of himself or to substitute himself with a wooden stump when he gets attacked.These myths have their roots in the Ninja using straw dummies dressed in their clothes and wooden stumps that were put in place long before a battle or pursuit to throw enemies off their trail and in some cases to lure the enemy into an ambush.
To those who did not know about the preparations beforehand these feats seem like magic.
And this is exactly what preparation does- it makes what you do look like magic.
A large number of really awesome illusions performed by stage magicians are actually the result of a lot of work done beforehand behind the scenes. The spectator is not supposed to see the work that is done beforehand- only the result.
The Ninja knew this principle very well...
Well- this sounds like nothing that students of mainstream styles like Karate, Taekwondo and Jujutsu can apply to our training at the dojo.
South African Karate legend Stan Schmidt (cited to this day as the highest ranking Westerner in the JKA) wrote in his book Spirit of the Empty Hand how his Sensei explained the value of kata in Karate.
The Sensei compared kata to the habit of some great golfer at the time in which the book was written to stroll down the golf course before playing the tournament and, while doing so, to think of how he was going to play each shot at each particular spot on the course.
So- kata was supposed to prepare you for fighting...
I have done some further research into this and found that some Chinese masters even said that you would be able to imagine sensations such as touch and impact during form practice.
Well- I know it is hard to imagine with kata these days.
In most cases the kata, taolu, poomse or whatever they call forms in Silat (Hey! Age! What do you call forms in Silat?) are preset. Each form has a name and the same sequence of movements that get practced over and over again.
Sure- it is a nice way to get the body in the habit of performing the techniques, but what about the chaos of the actual fight and what about those moves of your opponent that give you so much trouble.
Well- some research into Shaolin martial arts showed me that teachers of Shaolin actually recommend that you first fight imaginary opponents before you take on real opponents.
Not kata speed. Not ippon kumite rhythm, but actual combat speed.
Well- this has led to me doing something this like four times a week as part of my training...
I have said it before, but let me assure you- it works.
It is true that we cannot predict the future and you cannot always guess beforehand what your opponent is going to do and when he is going to do that, but a prepared mind has a much better time adjusting to a fight than one that has not been prepared.
This also teaches you to take whatever you worry about and find something to do about it instead of just worrying for an indefinite period of time.
This is it for today.
Train well and have a great week.
Something tells me that next week's post is going to be a lot of fun to write...