In martial arts every practice is important but each one has a specific goal
The study of Kung Fu can be a good choice for many reasons (peace, wellness, health, etc.) but if we truly want to learn to fight, our preparation must not be dispersive.
Note – This article has been asked by one of our Core Course practitioners on Patreon (see how to attend our home study classes here Learn Kung Fu online: a beginner-to-expert course).
The first step is to understand and avoid the most common “errors”. We have to be focused like a laser on specific tasks and goals directed toward the idea of combat.
A note by Master Kongling – When we talk about “errors”, we always refer to a practitioner who has chosen Kung Fu for self-defense and / or sports competitions. We are not saying that the other approaches are universally wrong but that they bring us to other (even legit) destinations. We respect all the (serious) methods of teaching but we must first respect the truth: there is nothing worse than being deluded wasting years and years in a direction that takes us far from where we want to go (read for example MMA vs Tai Chi 10 seconds knock out: an explanation).
Learning to fight: 5 mistakes that many make while practicing Kung Fu
Error 1: choose the wrong instructor
For a total beginner, this mistake is certainly easy to do but with the right precautions, also easy to be avoided.
The first point to focus on is that too many times martial arts courses are chosen on the basis of completely illogical parameters:
- Because they are close to where we live or work
- Because our friends go there
- Because the instructor boasts a long title (full of fancy numbers and colors)
These aspects are not influent in terms of quality, what we have to ask ourselves is:
- Forgetting secret / magic techniques, is reasonable to imagine this instructor facing real combat?
- Is this instructor able to teach combat? Or better, is this his primary focus?
- Is he a good instructor? Is he vague or specific and factual? Does he have an open mind or fossilized in an epic past (read carefully Recognize a good / bad master: 5 characteristics)?
How can we evaluate these points? Simple:
- By trying to follow some lessons without prejudices (read Is it legit?)
- By (rationally) testing what he teaches outside controlled contexts
- By looking at his students’ level and discipline (is that what we want?)
Error 2: be passive in the learning process
Even if we have finally found a course that we are passionate about and an experienced instructor focused on fighting, it does not mean that we have reached our milestone.
We have to become active parts of the study, we have to:
- Give an answer to every rational question we have
- Make specific tests of the techniques
- Adapt the teachings to ourselves (body, mind, etc.)
- Practice every day (solo training, etc.)
- Correct our weaknesses and maintain / improve our strengths
Error 3: focus on marginal aspects
Many of those who start practicing Kung Fu, would like to immediately focus on things like:
- Advanced techniques
- High-level skills
- Punitive conditioning methods
- Incredible acrobatics
- Complex weapons
A note by master Kongling – Understandable but incorrect: it is like, not having a car, buying the rear wing.
Starting to aim for such specific goals bring us:
- At best, to have a totally unbalanced preparation
- At worst, to serious injuries
- Most commonly to rapidly abandon the practice
In all these cases, we are far from the idea of learning to fight. In any kind of combat system, what (at the beginning) really matter are:
- The basic techniques
- The training constancy
All the rest comes after.
A note by Master Kongling – In the particular case of 6 Dragons Kung Fu, we also add the idea of “fighting instinct” but we cannot talk for the other schools / methods.
Error 4: confusing learning with training
The lessons are important moments of learning but not (necessarily) of training.
During a lesson, the effort is not regular, it can also be short, low or zero, instead of in training it is (should be) incremental and aimed to achieve certain performances (read Intensity of training: depends on what?).
To learn how to fight, our body must:
- Be ready to withstand the opponents’ blows
- Be ready to withstand a prolonged and high effort
- Be ready to rapidly and effectively interact with the adversaries
To reach these goals, in addition to following the theory of the lessons, we have to:
- Train every day (alone and with partners, working on each body element, not only on the technical aspects)
- Do periodically sparring (read The meaning of sparring fighting in martial arts)
- Evaluate the quality of our progress (read Analysis and improvement of performance)
Error 5: confusing didactical techniques with their practical versions
It must be stressed that the techniques explained during the lessons are only clean and clear examples of perfect executions in ideal situations. This never happens in real combat scenarios.
The didactical techniques must be seen as sources of inspiration (useful to absorb the key mechanics) and never as slavish practical ways of execution. If we focalize on them as the only way to get the result we will fail.
A note by Master Kongling – The practice of forms, stances, sequences and controlled techniques helps to learn the basic methods (read A scheme to quickly learn any kind of technique) but it is absolutely not enough to be ready to fight (read Why martial arts do not work: 5 reasons).
Against a real opponent:
- The positions, interferences and times change continuously
- The adversary knows the basic countermoves
- We face someone who will put all of himself to avoid being damaged
To learn to adapt and apply the principles of those techniques, the only way is to test them in gradually more dynamic and less collaborative contexts (read).
The learning method of 6 Dragons Kung Fu
Here you can find all the crucial steps that our practitioners follow to learn to fight: How to learn to fight: all the steps.
- Is traditional Chinese Kung Fu practical for fighting? – An important question to which every practitioner must find an answer
- 7 principles to become a better fighter – 7 fundamental keys to become a good fighter
Author: Master KonglingFounder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.
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