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Focus on the Principles

In class, we tend to train with the mindset that as long as we perform the drill that our instructor teaches us, then we will become better in the martial arts. With every technique we execute, we assume that we are becoming faster, stronger and more agile, as if some type of metamorphosis is taking place. Although paying attention and following our instructor’s directions are important parts of becoming better, for maximum results we must focus on the principles that build skill while we are performing the drills.

The principles that govern movement are what make us faster and stronger. We must focus on these principles during each and every drill. If we simply ignore these, we will not get any better. Going through the motions may get us through the drill, but realistically our skills will not improve significantly.

Here are the key principles that will build skill:

1. Upper body: This includes your head and neck. Your head needs to be aligned with your spine. If you look down or look up, you will limit your ability to perform effectively.

2. Core: This includes your shoulders, arms, back, and abs. Your entire core must be strong and aligned. If your back is hunched over, you will weaken your ability to exert strength and speed. Your arms and shoulders must be used to balance your body. Your abs must be tight to keep your back straight. The core is your control center to your entire body. If your core does not keep your entire body stabilized, not only will you not perform well but you will also risk injury.

3. Lower body: The lower body includes your hips, knees, ankles and heels. Your hips are the strongest part of your body, therefore you should always pay attention to the role that they play in each motion that you execute. Your knees must always be forward and in proper alignment with the rest of your body, allowing you to move quickly with ease.  Your ankles and heels must also be forward and used with attention as they are the foundation to your entire body.

Without proper use of each body part, you cannot increase your skills. Your entire body can increase your overall agility if you focus on each part, and work on ways to improve its use. These areas will help all of the drills you do to become better and more skilled. You must remember that “repetition is the key to improving.” Repetition builds habits that respond to your entire body’s movements. As you focus on the principles and how they apply to each particular drill, you can constantly increase your speed, strength, and agility.


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