The Problem with Hard Style Systems like Taekwondo and Karate
I'm surprised I'm posting on a topic like this at all, considering this blog is really focused on technique. However I think it's especially pertinent because of the need to apply those techniques.
This is my 25th year in the martial arts, and in the past several years I have bent my efforts into making sense of the Traditional Taekwondo syllabus I have been handed.
My assessment is that lots of the strengths of hard style martial arts LIKE focus, destructive power, and finishing blows also is where it finds its weakness.
What I'm talking about is that hard style martial arts are oftentimes challenged to equip the student practitioner to go beyond what one of my instructor's called the "kodak moment" and deal with 1) bypassing the opponent's multi-layered defences, and 2) when the opponent is bypassing your multi-layered defences.
It is not to say that hard stylists do not have the ability to deal with continuous attacks or dynamic situations. Nor am I saying that it is not necessary to develop power and focus. It is that a lot of the basic garden-variety training is only about one strike. Two at the most. And they come slowly - oh so slowly.
All the moves to deal with multiple attacks are there in the formwork. There is absolutely nothing other styles do that is not featured in a hard style system! It requires re-jigging your eyes and re-jigging your heart. Too often expertise is equated with a confidence and knowledge of all the answers. This is not true. To keep it real you need to keep an open mind, vary your techniques, and learn what works. Or how it works better.
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