Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Even Simple Is Complex

When you think about it, executing even the simplest technique in context is a complex task. Take a jab, for example. Even doing a proper power jab, with no telegraphic movement, coordination of the turning of the waist timed with an advancing step, the final jab extension coming just before the lead foot touches down, well, that's something that takes cultivation. And that's just the solo part of it. Then to develop the sense of timing and distance relative to an opponent is another cognitive skill set. And then on top of that, to be ready for all of the possible things that can happen as you fire the jab is a boatload of complexity; being ready to counter the opponent's simultaneous counter-strikes, or to shift smoothly to another line of attack as the jab is being defended against, you get the idea. And yet many/most traditional martial arts emphasize the practice of pre-set techniques with long chains of movements. Now certainly, the more honest of the instructors using that kind of training method would say that those sequences are just to teach coordination and possibilities of attack and defense, but if the techniques (and let's assume here for the moment that they are workable) are not ultimately practiced in a loose freelance way, the chances developing their spontaneous use is highly unlikely.

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