At the moment its not going well – seem to be in a phase where just can’t find a way forward – am not going backward but just not improving. Some of that is due to more practice needed (been difficult of late with work and the rest). For example – in training as in at club – you can do techniques – you should have your knees up, in the appropriate position, your toes pointed in a certain style in order to achieve an efficient kick. Same with hands – for punching – am not completing punch with the top of my hand flat, it still seems at angle.
So you try but you don’t really see what you do in detail because the movement is fairly quick – and think you may have done it this time – but then someone will tell you that you didn’t do anything differently at all. You can do it again and you concentrate – it may go better, it may not. Some people suggest training with mirrors – this is not practical for me because the largest space in my home does not have a mirror and I can’t easily put one there. However mirrors will only tell me what I can see about my position, it won’t tell me what is going on inside. Also I am not aware of traditional martial arts dojos having mirrors.
And I think that is part of the problem right now – I just don’t feel it. Another example – yesterday in training – was told that was not pointing my toes for the whole kick – they kind of ‘unpointed’ right at the moment of impact (not in the advanced with toes back – just went kind of flat). As I am studying a&p am thinking about this more and wondered – could I actually feel my toes pointing – no, not really – I don’t have that body sense. When I begin the kick I can feel my toes go into a pointing position but then I somehow lose that focus.
“You really can’t feel the outside unless you feel the inside. It’s a physical reality you’re feeling…the more you can feel them, the more insight you can gain and it becomes the foundation of a fighting art.
You have to begin by feeling yourself, then you can go out from there. Otherwise what can you feel? If you are numb to yourself then what can you possibly give to someone else and what can you receive? In a way you are the center of the universe but you must acknowledge the universe. What you’re trying to achieve is the inside looking out. Not the inside looking in - that’s having your head up your ass. Not the outside looking in, that’s a non-feeling objectivity – that’s just you watching a you like a TV show. You want to see from the inside looking out – you need to literally feel yourself as what it means to be a human being.
…that’s the labor that most people don’t want to do. That’s where you reveal a lot about yourself. You can BS the world about a lot of things and get away with it. Don’t BS yourself about martial arts because you put yourself in a situation where you might get hurt. Its better to know “I’m going to run real fast right now as fast as I can and get the hell out of here because this guy’s going to kill me”. You should know that instead of saying “Just yesterday I learned a technique that will work – watch this!” (1)
My instructor is really patient and when demonstrating a technique, also shows the real-life application immediately. Its frustrating for him / senior students when they see us repeating the same movements over and over again. Another thing I am going to work on is muscles – I don’t just think its balance and co-ordination, I need to develop more strength, but that will take some time. I have some specific hip exercises to practise too. There is also a wujimon post going to look at about hip flexibility too.
More focus+practice+application+discipline for outside of regular training too and see how it goes; and how it feels.
1.Gale P, O’Brien J (2007) Nei Jia Quan – Internal Martial Arts, 2nd Edition, Blue Snake Books