Saturday, 2 June 2018

Some things only come with time

I remember back when I was still 13 when I saw a photo of Sensei Morio Higaonna's fist in a book on martial arts.

Not long after that I started doing knuckle push-ups and put up a makeshift makiwara in the yard. Still- my fist still did not have that callous over the knuckles like Higaonna Sensei's.

About 11 years later I got interested in Kung Fu. Part of what I have liked about the training was that it focused on strengthening bones as well. My fists still did not look like Higaonna Sensei's, but they hit pretty hard... Learning to channel force through them was an awesome experience.

Now- this year- at the age of 39- I find my fist looking like this...

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It is still not like Hiagaonna Sensei's fist, but the skin over the two first knuckles are now thickened and tough.

Stick around in our martial arts groups long enough and you will notice that martial art styles get evaluated a lot on their perceived ability to help you defend yourself. Well- we can't argue. It is a fair expectation that a martial art should enable you to do that.

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My problem with styles focusing on only self defence is that they cannot deliver the kind of benefits you get from a traditional martial art like Shaolin Fist or Karate.

Even MMA fighters become stronger and fitter because of consistent and regular training. Your self defence orientated arts don't give you that because they stick to teaching those techniques that are the simplest and that require the least of effort to perform.

These days we have arts like Systema and Krav Maga rearing their heads. Yet- how many people do you see practicing Krav Maga by themselves? Hell! I don't even know whether Krav Maga even has anything that you can practice by yourself.

Meanwhile- those traditional styles that people (usually uninformed members of the public) criticise as being outdated and ineffective have practitioners who become tougher, fitter, stronger and who end up becoming better fighters just because they do what they do regularly and much longer than those who attend one or two classes only to learn moves.

Thing is- a technique that you may think does not work, but which gets practiced regularly might actually be do more for you in the long run than something you'd rather use, but have only trained once long ago.

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