When we talk about muscle memory we refer to the capacity that our psychophysical system has to facilitate / accelerate certain movements.
To have a good muscle memory of a given technique therefore it means:
- To call up a complex movement instantly
- To act rapidly and in a coherent and effective way
- To do not engage the mind in building a useful motion
- To connect a ready response to an external stimulus (at the speed of our reflexes)
Muscle memory is both an advantage and a risk for a warrior:
- An advantage because it allows us to be fast and extremely effective
- A risk because all mnemonic movements can be known and therefore predictable by opponents
In this regard, in 6DKF muscle memory is used only in part and in particular in terms of instant defense as well as of qualitatively high mobility acquisition; the rest of the defense / counterattack / attack techniques is in the hands of reason, ability to improvise and adapt (more about that later).
However muscle memory is important and we need it to build fighting quality. The way is to practice the same movement over and over again, this at the same time will improve (in the context of the specific movement):
- Our body structure (muscles, flexibility, etc.)
- Our power and efficiency (in all situations)
- The distribution of our weight (in terms of balance and equilibrium)
- The trajectories (making us gain speed)
- The management of decisive details (Qi, muscle chain, etc.)
Of course there are no general exercise to build a good muscle memory in relation to a given technique / movement, however, there is a “method”.
In 6DKF we do this:
- Execute the technique at a medium-low speed without regard to detail
- Execute the technique at a medium speed minding effectiveness but no details
- Execute the technique in a smooth and steady way but at the slowest possible speed
- Execute the technique at a high-speed without regard to detail
- Execute the technique at a very low speed healing every technical detail (flexibility, stability, Qi, muscle chain, etc.)
- Execute the technique with speed, power and complete attention to detail
- Execute the technique at medium speed, power, complete attention to detail and a target
- Execute the technique with full speed, power, complete attention to detail, an uncooperative moving target and various adverse situations / obstacles
It should all be repeated countless times with:
- An ever-active mind and concentrated
- The idea to improve, even slightly, compared to the previous time
- The idea of the technique to operate in the best way
- The idea of adapting the technique to our psychophysical system
- The idea of growth without end, always finding new possible difficulties
Discipline, concentration and preparation.
In the next article we will talk about how to make our mind and our limbs reach increasingly ambitious objectives.
Author: Master Kongling
Founder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.