One area of training
rarely considered is the recycling and ongoing evolution
of existing knowledge and techniques into new patterns
Bear in mind that martial
arts at their best provide a vehicle for self awareness
and liberation. Awareness means confidence in who and
what you are, and liberation leads to freedom of
movement and thought wherein your skill becomes
completely fluid, and your are free to fully integrate
into every situation. It is this ability to integrate
which represents the ultimate skill (and benefit). Every
situation is familiar turf, as though you ve been there
many times before.
Many schools lose sight of this very fundamental
As we ve noted elsewhere, in many aspects martial arts
parallels the study of music. There are diverse paths,
and many competing focuses for your skills and
attention. Avoid those programs which require you to be
at conflict, take harbor in those which encourage you to
be at one. If our art of Gun Fu were viewed as music, it
would be improvisational jazz. Go to a club sometime,
watch what the musicians are capable of doing once the
clock approaches midnight. Witness as they push
themselves to the place of their contentment.
As in music, basics remain supreme. In an interview at
the height of his career, Miles Davis was asked what
goal remained for him to accomplish. He is believed to
have responded, I’d like to be able to play through the
modes. The interviewer stared, puzzled,
‘But you can already do that,” to which Davis
answered, “No, I mean to really be able to play through
the modes.” They were talking about different things.
The interviewer was talking about practice . Davis was
talking about flying free, so that any note worked
perfectly at any time, depending on his personal
awareness and instinctsl.
So that’s the message.
Use your knowledge to propel new discovery and growth.
Work from the known into the unknown. Avoid re-starting
from scratch wherever possible,
already developed are the foundation of skills to be
acquired, either through evolution, modification,
experimentation or new discovery.
Let s say you re
interested in exploring this in your own training. Try
focusing on the following modes of experimentation:
Phase 1. Working from
Phase 2. Working from
known forms or Kata;
Phase 3. Improvisational
Phase 1 -Working From
Every system has its
favored drills, usually seen regularly in the course of
practice, particularly as their repetitive nature
reinforces perfection of basics. As an example, let s
consider two drills common to Isshinryu Karate. They are
the Punching Standard, and the Kicking Standard.
Once they are intimately familiarized, why not
experiment? One method might be to string the sequences
together. Start with the Punching Standard, go to
Kicking Standard, end with Punching Standard (We refer
to this combination as Standard #1). Why not
Kicking Standard, Punching Standard, then Kicking
Standard (Standard #2)?
and Kicking Basic Drills
1 & 2
3 and Closing Thoughts
If a sequence starts on
the left side, doesn t it make sense to also start it in
turn on the right side. At first the drills are linear.
Why not break them up into different angles, or even do
them in a circle.
Now, add a few wrinkles
for the advancement of evolution! Let s revisit Punching
Standard and exploit what we already know from the
sequence, to set up the same pattern, but this time
using Tonfa, Middle Sticks, and Kama.
for the poor quality of the video
below. This has been extracted from
dated archives which were degraded and of
poor quality. Currently, it is the
best available In the spirit of
sharing we believe it better to show what we
have rather than nothing at all.
Tonfa, Sticks & Kama
Works perfectly doesn t
it? Can you see the value of the emerging training path?
How about with Sai?
I’ll leave that
experiment to your own devices.
Once you get comfortable,
try experimenting for yourself, vary the routine into
angles, and circles, try with a Bo (Yes it can!), a
Short Stick, or anything else you can come up with.
Phase 2 - Working From
Known Forms or Kata:
Use a form with which you
have familiarity as the architecture for something
The late Master J. Cui
Brocka understood this completely when he extracted from
Shotokan (Takiyoku Kata) to create the form architecture
for his system of Combat Arnis (Anyo Uno (#1) & Anyo
Dos (#2)). Let’s start by having a look at
The advantage is
relatively straightforward, if not intuitive. The
existing framework provides an already sound basis for
general movement and direction. To that established
platform of familiarity, new movement is superimposed.
Recognizing the compatibility, Master Brocka grafted the
twelve basic blocks and strikes of Combat Arnis to
Takiyoku, to yield Anyo Uno, then did the same with the
twelve basic blocks and disarmimg techniques, to produce
Anyo Dos. Clearly, even a basic framework allows for
development of more advanced techniques.
Form #1 (Anyo Uno)
Uno (Full Detail)
Form #2 (Anyo Dos)
Basics to Form #2
There is no end to the
possibilities. Click here to see the same concept extended to
creating drills for mastering basic tonfa techniques in
a dynamic flow.
Phase 3 -
Elsewhere on the website
we discuss flow in considerable detail. It would be
worthwhile to take a few minutes to visit that page (click
here to visit),
as it will connect some of the dots in how our current
concept of using what is already known and familiar,
becomes the catalyst for acquiring and mastering more
complex technique. Picking up where that article left
off, one can take any of the aforementioned forms or
drills and apply them to new situations, varying the
lines, angles, adding weapons, etc.
Again, possibilities are
limitless. On your own, try applying the same Takiyoku
to improvised Sai, and then to Bo. You really can t go
wrong, the underlying coordination of eye, foot and hand
is preserved and attaches to the new movement. In the
alternative, look within your style, or your realm of
experience and pick out a form, pattern or routine, and
see where you can take it.
Never lose site of the
objective. The art must become you, and everything you
undertake must lead to that end. It is within each of
you to fully actualize a complete martial art, and way
of life, unique to your personal talents. Don t sell
yourself short, and don t become dependent on others to
provide answers to questions which can only be resolved
by you getting off your duff and solving them for