Saturday, 7 October 2017

Ask not what your enemy can do to you (at least not ALL the time...)

Every style has its precautionary measures. Kickboxing coaches will tell you to keep that guard up, Wing Chun teachers will tell you to parry towards the opponent's centre line and with classic Shaolin you have to keep your hand over your groin when you do high side kicks or roundhouse kicks...

That is all well and easy to remember until the free sparring starts.

Back in 1997 I have used a free form of sticking hands when I trained with friends. It worked well, but there were numerous times where I used an inward block against the inside of a sparring partner's arm.

This was not intended, of course, but then again- when we block and redirect a volley of punches- how much of what we do is actually intended? The hands go where they need to without you thinking and when you realise what has actually happened you realise that some of what has happened during the bout was not as prescribed by the text book.

With a full-on free sparring bout it is also not unusual to emerge from all the chaos and realise that you have done a lot that was not exactly as taught, but you came out at the other end okay.

One of my teachers once remarked when she found me being hesitant during a match and said to me:

"You only have that little bit of time in which you can counter- why would you want to waste half of it worrying about getting hit?"

Thing is- fear is okay. It tells us to be on our toes and it can save your life. Worrying, however, is thought.

In times of peace- which in our modern day lives mean during practice- it is alright to go through all the possible scenarios that can occur and devise strategies to deal with them. When the fight is on, however, these strategies should get implemented without any further thought and when contingencies arise that require a deviation from the game plan then one has to adapt without hesitation. The time for thinking has then passed.

Hitting while an opening appears is hard enough. Thinking about how to hit at that time will make it impossible.

That is my thought for this weekend.

Stay well, everyone and train hard.

Until next time... 

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