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Things to look for in a bad school

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    Well, lets look at this from a time stand-point. Say you're a student at a dojo 4 times a week for 1 to 1.5 hours each time. To build skill, you need to prioritize the things you need to work on to be a well-rounded fighter. Here are the things you could do:

    1) Katas/Forms
    2) Hitting different kinds of bags or pads
    3) Sparring (either ground or standing), would include drills in this category
    4) Setting up 'realistic' scenarios and taking turns doing them
    5) Full-contact, 100% 1v1 matches with someone of equal or greater skill/experience.

    Remember, you only have between 4 and 6 hours a week to do this. Katas/Forms are easy to practice and fairly quick to do. Weapons training tends to get the best benefits from this kind of repetition. However, perfecting complicated katas can eat up lots of time with little return in fighting skill. Working the heavy bag or contact mitts is good for conditioning and doesn't take too much time. Better than katas for building skill, but can breed over-confidence if done too much. Sparring is an outstanding way to build skill if done right. Requires a partner with some level of skill and can be time-consuming but really allows you to advance in your style. Sparring too much can make you sloppy, though, so don't overdo it. Scenarios are very time consuming and can degenerate into bullshit sessions very easily, but can help develop tactical and strategic thinking/reaction. Also requires an extremely good instructor and lots of props and equipment to do right. Full-contact fighting is rarely done by most people, but gives you large jumps in overall skill. Unfortunately, it takes a toll on your body and can be time-consuming. You must be very careful in who you pick to do this with, since the chance of injury can be fairly high.

    So what does all that mean? It means you have to make a decision on how much time you want to spend on some of this stuff (4 hours isn't a lot of time). For myself, here would be a sample breakdown

    kata/forms: 5% (shadowboxing in mirror, sprawl/shoot practice, karambit work)
    contact mitts/heavy bag: 10%
    sparring: 80% (submissions/kickboxing)
    scenarios: .1% (not a strong-suit of my school)
    full contact matches: 4.9% (tournaments, once a week 'Circle of Pain')

    As you can see, I could probably do less sparring and more kata/forms and scenarios. There is a balance that has to be struck in all training to get maximum results. If you break up your training time the way I did, you may spot areas that need more or less time. I think I have pretty good skill for the time I've spent, but I'm in danger of stagnating if I don't switch some things up. Plus, as I get older, the percentage of full-bore competition stuff I do will probably decrease.

    I would be interested to see how other people break down their training (and see if I'm on the right track or just kidding myself).


      Thank you for bringing back the sanity with you.

      **The most miraculous power that can verifiably be attributed to "chi" is its ability to be all things to virtually all people, depending on what version of the superstition they are attempting to defend at any given moment.**


        My pleasure ;)


          Kata is the repetition of USELESS and OUTDATED MOVEMENTS from stances you would NEVER rely on in a realistic situation.
          That's like saying you shouldn't learn calculus because you'll never need to figure out the area under a curve.

          For those of you who may not appreciate the above statement, the fact is you never will need to figure out the area under a curve. By all accounts and purposes calculus is truly useless and outdated. However practicing calculus teaches critical skills and thinking patterns that are applied in a wide variety of disciplines. Kind of like forms and katas.



            Sensei wanted his students to know how to apply the techniques that he taught.
            fair enough. But what if fighting in a "Hockey" player's likeway was more effective than the techniques he taught?

            I just focus on Wing Chun


              fair enough. But what if fighting in a "Hockey" player's likeway was more effective than the techniques he taught?
              Actually they probably were.

              However I wasn't there to learn how to "fight", I wanted to learn a martial art. If all I wanted was to be a good fighter, I would have just been born Irish.


              Edited by - 8t88 on January 16 2003 01:22:31


                I am gonna have to agree katas are crap./



                  Where is the time spent learning a new technique / perfecting a technique in "Isolated / Lab" cicumstances ?



                    Kata is basically WORTHLESS from the viewpoint of combat and self defense skill.

                    Kata is the practice of unworkable technique while rooted in unrealistic stances performing blocking methods that will never work.

                    Hitting a bag is NOT a form. ANYTHING is a form from your viewpoint, so I'll make it perfectly clear:

                    Kata, when performed as a series of defensive blocks and counters against imaginary opponents is completely worthless for combat or self defense.

                    There is nothing you can gain from practicing kata that you canno gain TWOFOLD in practice of another kind.

                    Pad work ALONE works REALISTIC technique on an ACTUAL TARGET while utilizing good footwork much the same way you would in reality. Actual targets build power, focus, timing, distance, speed and accuracy.

                    I want to hear someone name ONE THINg kata can give you that you can't get in practice of another kind.


                    Thats all you need to know about kata.


                      you can impress idiots with it?


                        Actually they probably were.

                        However I wasn't there to learn how to "fight", I wanted to learn a martial art. If all I wanted was to be a good fighter, I would have just been born Irish.

                        lol, esepcially to the latter....and the Irish thing :D

                        wasn't there to learn how to "fight", I wanted to learn a martial art
                        Which is what most, if not all, martial arts (TMAs) are perfect for nowerdays, to leran the martial art as a reinactment of how if was mostly or may have been done a centry or two ago. :)

                        Edited by - Blade Windu on January 16 2003 11:56:05


                          Let me give you some points and then YOU can tell me how I'm wrong.

                          #1 Hitting ACTUAL TARGETS builds ACCURACY. Forms do NOT.

                          #2 Hitting ACTUAL TARGETS teaches you the concept of DISTANCE. Forms do NOT.

                          #3 When hitting a heavy pad or thai pads you can move your feet REALISTICALLY, the same way you should if you were faced with a real person. The stances of traditional forms are NOT used in a real situation.

                          #4 Hitting ACTUAL TARGETS build POWER. Striking the AIR builds JACK SHIIT.

                          We could go ON and ON and ON. Everything I've said is FACT. You just don't like it.

                          Edited by - PeedeeShaolin on January 16 2003 12:00:02


                            To tell you the truth I don't think kata are really good for too much anymore. At one time it would have been different, but martial arts in general has evolved above the need for kata. Kata is a way to study for people that are unable to perform a more fruitful activity. It's also good for children because it teaches them focus and discipline.

                            If your able to practice other techniques and are interested in martial arts for self defense and physical conditioning than there are just alot better things to do than a pre-set list of movements that you would never use in the first place.

                            If you LIKE doing it and its fun for you then thats another reason all together.


                              peedee why do you hate kung fu stylist so much?


                                Much as I hate to agree with PeeDee about anything :)

                                He's right. Forms and kata have a purpose but they will not teach you to fight. Fighting teaches you to fight. Forms and katas may add to your technical ability in a fight but conversely only fighting will not add to your technical ability.
                                Funny that, how going to extremes doesn't get you anywhere, yet incorporating a bit of one into the other improves your ability. Can anyone say "Yin and Yang"?
                                Anyways, I'm off to train for the first time since christmas. this is gonna hurt.



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