Friday, July 3, 2009

Progressive Flow

It seems to me that the best martial training progressions are based around what could be called “progressive flow.” What I mean by that is that as soon as a thing is learned, another thing to contrast or compliment it is learned and then put into a drill format so that cognition is developed to distinguish between them. For example, if a parry is learned as a jab counter, then a parry (or any appropriate defense) against a cross should be learned soon after that, so that the trainer can feed a random series of jabs and crosses to the trainee who learns to see what’s coming. At the point that defending against jabs and crosses doesn’t seem overwhelming to the defender, then we might add defenses against the lead or rear hook which would make at least sixteen two-count combinations to learn to perceive (e.g. jab, cross; jab, lead hook; jab, rear hook etc.). Then we might add kick or take-down defenses and so on. So the point is that a body of responses is progressively broadened so that the trainee is able to handle more and more possibilities. This (and here comes the trash-talk/critique) is in contrast to some systems that teach technique or pattern memorization and no flow or sparring training, or technique memorization and then sparring with no progressive bridge, which would be the equivalent of learning to memorize some phrases in a language and then be expected to speak that language functionally. And under stressful conditions. Some people might make that work, but it is not an efficient way to go about learning.

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