This blog is dedicated to sharing my experiences as a Sifu in martial arts. If you have any questions or any topics you would like me to address, please feel free to write in on our website

 Martial Competency

Over the years I have been asked this question many times.  How can I become a good fighter?  I have seen so many martial artists fall by the way side simply because they become frustrated with their techniques.  I remember so vividly the conversation I had with my teacher.  Grandmaster Cheung told me if you want to be good, practice your basics.  If you want to be great, practice your basics. That comment changed my whole perspective on how I would train. He told me to pick no more than 6 techniques and train them to respond.  No matter what was thrown at me I could call on one of those techniques. So I trained to get proficient at a few techniques until I reached a point of unconscious competency.  Once they became second nature it took away so much stress on how to deal with different situations.  So my first recommendation is to pick a skill you like and first learn it by repetition and just apply it over and over again with really good technique.  Learn how to perform it properly. If you train good technique you will yield good results.  If you train bad technique over and over again you just get really good at doing something bad. The next aspect to this is once you are comfortable you must continue to train.  Skills are perishable, so you want to maintain those skills. You need to make them part of your everyday life.  I can’t tell you how many people I have met in my life who have said, I knew how to do it.  You can’t live off the fact that you use to know how to do something a long time ago and that those skills are going to stay with you forever. When you first train a technique or a form always begin by doing them slowly. Some of my military friends have a saying, slow is smooth, smooth is fast. Learn to perfect your techniques first. As you train your proper techniques into muscle memory you will begin to move faster naturally. When you are training you must also learn to stay focused on what you are doing.  Too many people are trying to think ten moves ahead so they lose sight of what they are doing and their technique begins to break down. When people move too fast they go beyond what their vision can see and that is where the frustration begins to set in. Training to survive a life threatening altercation requires more than just learning how to perform a technique properly. You have to practice until you can respond both physically and mentally without having to think about it. A big part of it is to keep your head straight and not succumb to panic under a level of stress. Stress is one of the greatest problems an individual encounters in their life. When a person becomes stressed over something they begin to panic.  Once panic sets in people tend to freeze and this is where they get hurt. They are not capable of responding to the task at hand. They are not sure what to do.  There is a fear of the unknown. Your physical training should be Zen like.  All of your necessary responses should be stored in your muscle memory.  Once you have become proficient in your techniques, you should train to use them in as many different situations as you can imagine. This makes great partner training and great solo training to visualize yourself in these scenarios and coming out of them victoriously.  If you are training with a partner make sure to keep your ego in check.  If you get hit during a practice session don’t get mad.  Use it, now you have something to work on, another skill to perfect.  As you train go through the steps of the technique in your mind.  What is the sequence to apply what you are doing? You should not be thinking of the negative.  If I miss my block, oh no, I am going to get hit.  Stay focused on the things you can control.  Eventually you will not have to think about the steps.  They will all become one action.  Once you have your training technique from steps into one action you will have reached the stage of unconscious competency. When this stage is reached then you will have eliminated your fears and stress of the unknown in combat and will be able to proficiently perform your techniques.

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