Application Training is Not Complete Training

This isn't a Seagal-is-a-hack post.

This post is about applications.

There are hard style martial art instructors (including Taekwondo instructors) right now scrambling to come up with 'applications' for their patterns. Applications are used to justify aiki-type handlocks or takedowns, esoteric knowledge, to demonstrate credibility of their forms, or perhaps to solidify their cult of personality amongst their students.

It's the new trend to train applications, you could even say it's a cult of 'applications training'.

This video in particular has no 'applications'. The sensei does not explicitly show moves from his kata or pattern then try to demonstrate what they can be used for. Notice though, the man talks for over half an hour purely on concepts. He's giving a behind-the-scenes look at how things work in his martial art. You could get hundreds of applications from the concepts he's discussing. Then in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it instant, he also does eventually say that it all comes from patterns.

Key points:
  1. These concepts can be used interchangeably with each other to take down the opponent - or take his head off. 
  2. They underlie the 'applications' people are trying to come up with from their patterns. 
  3. Training in concepts or these pre-requisite skills complement kata-based training or application training. 
If you think for JDK training is about producing applications, this is not what we're about. We we do feature a lot of applications from forms - but our training attempts to be goal-oriented. Some of what we do may look like the form, some require a stretch of the imagination, while some mix a wide variety of other techniques which don't seem to come from that particular form. What I'm saying is that the form is there to set you free - not to lock you into it.

An expert created a form once. Then I learned it. Adapted it. But that form - in its 40 over moves - does not represent the totality of that expert. You can say the form is the well wishes of a friend who has long since passed. I speak like this because when we stopped looking for overzealous mimicking of the form, we were able to see the world like how this sensei does! Shuhari, folks. 

Some industrious instructor may try to deconstruct moves to where that younger black belt was holding onto the ball and moving it around. I can just imagine them saying: "Here are one hundred applications to teach you head manipulation ...". It's like trying to paint a masterpiece using a paint-by-numbers kit.

Upcoming Articles: Please note I'm taking out Tuesday articles and only publishing articles on Monday. Having the audience that I'm reaching out to, the networks that I have, and my producing articles singly for this blog it's unsustainable to do more than one article a week, and then manage the FB page, and YouTube Channel. Thank you for understanding.
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