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Lesson of the Month

January 2000

Glen Doyle teaches at
Céad Bua Fighting Arts Centre
in Milton, Ontario

Previous Lessons





By Sifu Glen Doyle

So many times when teaching, whether it be in my club, or at my seminars (I'm sure many other instructors will agree), the inevitable question comes up... and it always starts with the famous two words... "WHAT IF?"

Meaning, you're teaching a technique and the students move the source of the attack, and/or situation.... What if he had a gun? What if he came from behind? What if he had two friends? What if he was a big fan of Pauly Shore films?.... etc...

These questions are fine with regards to the mind working, instinctual technique, and any situation where you improvise, overcome, or adapt... it shows the individuality of the mind... as long as the instructor doesn't stray from the thread of technical instruction, it's great.

But when teaching a string of techniques together, which for simplicity we can call a Form, or Kata, for our Japanese stylists, "What if" questions really shouldn't play.

Please remember, a form or a kata is simply -- numerous individual fighting techniques strung together in a certain pattern to allow an individual to practice them within a certain time frame.

Each movement has a purpose. Just because in your form you may turn to the right after the groin kick to face the next attacker, in a real fighting situation you NEVER fight in form... meaning that after that kick to the groin, your next attacker may be to your left or maybe you're only fighting one person.

When learning a form -- know what each individual technique is for... know why you're doing each movement.

Forms are great... you can use full power, speed, and intensity... but if you just memorize the moves, you're doing yourself a disservice... you may look awesome doing the form, but if you...

a)...have to call upon one of the techniques in a real situation, will your mind be able to call upon it?

b)... have to teach the form to another person, the imagery of the move may suffer should you not be able to explain the complete thought behind the technique.

If you find yourself performing movements simply because they're in the form, you may want to sit down with your instructor and ask him/her to dissect the form with you. If they come upon a movement that they cannot explain, they had no right to teach that move to you.

You are allowing someone to step into your mind... to re-circuit your way of thinking, acting, and re-acting... make sure you get the best programmer possible -- because your mind is your ultimate computer... you must have a smooth program to run or else your computer may crash... and when dealing with personal safety and protection, a crashed system could lead us to the graveyard.

Welcome to 2000


G. Doyle

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