Sunday, August 19, 2012

Comfortable Complexity

As I have written about before, the simplest actions involve intrinsic complexity if they are in flow, with the potential to go in many (arguably infinite) directions. If we diagramed all of the things that commonly happen offensively and defensively as you try deliver a jab, it would quickly become a very dense diagram. If we tried to memorize or codify all of the potential footwork variations, for example, it would be very "top heavy," meaning that it would require an unwieldy amount of conscious mental work and that's not the way to go.

Don't get me wrong, a good deal of mental work is required to understand good technique and training process, but any neurological/cognitive research will confirm that what we do best is done without conscious internal dialogue, or without sub-vocalizing at the very least.

To make fine-tuned (i.e. complex) responses natural and comfortable requires training games where choices are made in the moment. Kinds of sparring would of course be included in that category, but drills can be constructed around any kinds of choices that you are looking to deal with. My recommendation is that when constructing a drill, you start with the lowest amount of choices possible, two and then add more choices progressively. The intensity should start mellow and build appropriately. What I like to do eventually is to throw something at the trainee that is not what the drill is focusing on, and if the trainee responds smoothly to the unexpected offensive opportunity or defensive need, then I know the response is genuinely there for them.

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