Martial Arts Training Advice
Article by Dan Knight added on 30 Aug 2012.
Guarantee improvement in Wing Chun & martial arts training
In this article I will outline an approach to training Wing Chun or any martial art, that will guarantee improvement and make students better at self defence and fighting. The idea is simple. Take a training drill or exercises you do in the class and make sure your students are getting hit 10-20% of the time. Bare with me while I explain why. Take blocking a jab cross. All martial arts classes should learn to deal with it. Wing Chun, Karate, MMA and boxing styles should all learn how to deal with it because its a common attack in competitions and on the street. In Wing Chun we could use a Pak Sau and Biu Sau (or many other things). Pick a good counter from your martial arts style and get students to practice it. A complete beginner will not be able to deal with it at first so the person doing the jab cross will have to slow down. Once the beginner is comfortable with dealing with a slow jab cross he or she will be doing an effective counter most of the time. eventually it will become second nature and beginner will be back in a comfort zone. At this point they have gained a small amount of skill.
Get out of the comfort zone
However they have still not learned to deal with a proper jab cross. Their training partner slowed down so they could do it. This is ok to start with but as soon as the beginner stops getting hit 10-20% of the time the attacker should make their attacks faster and more unpredictable. Then once that gets easy to deal with they should add fakes and throw other attacks and movement in to ensure the person they are training with is never in their comfort zone. Now the road to success is clear! Improvement is fast and obvious.
The 10-20% is a very rough rule of thumb. What is important is that the student is under at least some pressure to get better. If the are getting hit much more than 25% of the time the exercise maybe too hard for them and it should be slowed down to give the time to practice the movement and understand what is going on. If they are not getting hit at all it may seem good, however it means they are in a comfort zone and that is unlikely to be the case when they fight for real on the street or in a competition. Therefore the exercise should be made harder so they cant cope with it. This makes them get better.
Its worth mentioning, when I say getting hit I don't mean taking a blow to the body or head I mean being unable to stop the opponents attack (or deal with the exercise). Hopefully your training partner will stop the punch before he or she actually makes contact with you or if using gloves and protection the contact will remain light.
This simple idea will guarantee your getting better providing the people training respect their partners learning. This simply means working with then to find the level where they are under pressure to learn but are not being overwhelmed. So start slow and build up. Also the techniques should be done with good positioning but this will be clear because as attacks come in harder and faster if they are not right they wont work.
This method also makes teaching a class of mixed abilities easier as people find the pace that is right for them, its never too easy or too hard.
If you find this method useful credit me or let me know any feedback or Improvements you can think of via email.
Best of luck