Habits of Highly Effective Martial Artists

In the book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, one of the lessons is to start with the end goal in mind. Meaning, don't be driven to work for work's sake, but to make sure you are progressing towards a specific goal.

This is a fantastic lesson, and one that can be applied to many if not all areas of life.

I took this lesson down to the training hall to see how training itself can be improved with this new focus. Last week as I was holding the kick shield and working with my green belt, I was providing on-going commentary regarding body positioning, stepping, and the impact on the target for a standard stepping side kick. Once everything had more or less improved to my satisfaction, I noticed that there was a drop out of power at the point of impact. Follow through was not there! The kick seemed to be everything up to the point (it looked good or it looked okay), and then it just slipped.

The penetration power of the side kick was not there because the processes which were what I was focusing on is only part of the determinant of power. The next determinant is intent, own strength, and the follow through. Basically the person must *want* to kick the target. It is as simple as that. Not just bring up the foot and send it out 'correctly'. He or she must need and want and yearn to give it to the kick shield. Juice it up. Ramp it up. Fire it up. How many more ways can I say it?

To borrow a training idea from another sport where I worked as a coach, a side kick is NOT the way you step to the target, NOT the way you bring your knee up, NOT the way you extend your leg, NOT the way you hold your foot, and NOT the way you rotate the foot into the target.

What the Taekwondo side kick boils down to is the point at which you are hitting the opponent with the side of your foot and then the one or maybe two inches of penetrating power you apply beyond that.

So next time you're doing drills, think about what you are attempting to do. Make sure you've brought along your martial arts hat - not your dancing hat. It's not about looks, it's about what you want to achieve with all your techniques.



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Colin Wee
Traditional Taekwondo Technique Workshop


Ikigai said…
This reminds me of Bruce Lee's admonition in Enter the Dragon - "we need emotional content!"

Colin Wee said…
Brilliant quote!

Yeah, I think there's a mistaken idea that martial artists are supposed to be cool and calm. But to me I don't think this translates as being limp &/or flaccid &/or unimaginative &/or nonchalent &/or a social retard.

I think cool and calm is about maintaining clarity in the heat of combat. Getting involved with intensity, commitment, and tenacity is something that may give any fighter an edge.

supergroup7 said…
Yes.. I wonder if this embodies the whole concept of "kime" that is inherent in Karate.. to show that unity of mind, soul, and body into going through that target.

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