Steve Perry wrote yet another comment that deserves a lot of thought. He's right, and it's something I've wondered about myself: (See the August 5, 2005 post on New Ways- I can't tag from this machine) The essence- sometimes when you have done something for a long time, you forget the basics. You can do them, you just forget to explain them, or even point them out. Steve's instructor is really good (extraordinary by most measures) and gets a lot of experienced martial artists who need the shift in perspective that he offers. Ergo, most of his students would be considered very advanced in most schools and the basics are just assumed. When a new student shows up who doesn't know how to hold a stick or make a fist, it throws everything off-kilter. The instructor has to stop and switch gears.
Read the August 2005 post. The essence is that it takes a lot of practice, a lot of reps to get to some high-end skills. Every really good fighter that I know followed this route. But is it really necessary?
At this stage I sure don't know and don't really have an opinion on it. But here is a speculation, a possibility: What if you can skip that step?
Most people can move. Athletic people move well. Fighting is just moving. People already know what hurts and what can injure them. If it's not knowledge of those areas that makes a good survival fighter, maybe it is mental, attitude. Sanford Strong describes some of the survival mindsets that have gotten through truly hideous home invasion crimes. The attitude, the determination to "make this bastard PAY!" was a big factor, a huge factor in survival.
Isn't that natural? What if we are approaching this the wrong way and making a good survival fighter* is not about putting a mindset in but about taking one out? If it is not bequething a tool but removing a leash?
One example from my lovely wife: She is a wonderful dancer. A belly dancer, an exceptionally graceful woman. For years she couldn't and wouldn't dance. She was afraid she would dance poorly, that she "didn't know how." The second she decided to step on a dance floor, get into the music and have fun, she could dance. Classic ballet? Salsa? No. But she could move with power and grace to the music. She was dancing.
What if a huge gain in fighting skill could be made by simply deciding to 'let go'. That's the other thing that all extraordinary fighters (competition too) do. They let go. True, after they have spent the hours ingraining the skills... but is there any reason why the letting go can't come first? Would it allow them to learn skills without baggage?
*Not the same as a competitor. Competition is a test of skill and will and technique and fitness and... Survival can be anything and everything
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