Training Tips

There are many ways to train for martial arts and different people learn in different ways. Over the years, I have heard many sayings, comments, and tips that have helped me and my students. This page tries to capture some of those items… to maybe they will help you also… Some items are specific to Combat Hapkido, others can probably be applied to any art… They appear in no particular order… This is just an initial cut off the top of my head and it will be expanded and expounded upon as time goes on, so this page is a work in progress…

Tip #1: Relax…

First, there will always be that initial flinch response – that is normal. You can train your techniques to take advantage of that flinch response. Second, as soon as possible, try to relax… that is easier said than done, but can/will be learned as you train more and get comfortable with the fact that the techniques do work… However, if your entire body is in a state of tension, you will not be able to move as you need to do.

Tip #2: Make it look like something you’ve seen before…

As people start learning martial arts, they seem to assume that there are hundreds and hundreds of techniques that they have to learn. However, in many cases, there are fundamental techniques that need to be learned well and that can be applied in a vast number of ways. For example, in the case of an “arm bar”, many people see all the applications of “arm bar” as different techniques. Rather, you should think about what an “arm bar” is… it is a hyper-extension of your attacker’s elbow. So, if you have learned something we would call a “standard arm bar” and you find your attacker’s arm in a similar configuration (regardless of where you are), make it look like a standard arm bar – that is, make it look like what you’ve seen before. Either reposition yourself, or reposition the attacker, or simply apply the principal behind an arm bar (hyper-extend their elbow) to the current situation.

Tip #3: Do something.

During training, as you are learning a new technique, it is natural to “mess up” and want to start again. That’s okay in the early stages of trying to get a technique correct. However, do not let the “mess up, stop, then restart/repeat” become the normal pattern in your training. Also, as you train, do not “stop and think” when someone grabs so that you can do a technique. If you cannot remember what it is you are supposed to do, just DO SOMETHING. Whether that is to move off the center line, do a different technique, or simply just do a distraction to give you more time to react… do not freeze, even in training. If you train yourself to freeze when you mind goes blank, then that’s what you will do in a real situation… the consequences of that could be very bad for you.

Tip #4: Slow is smooth… Smooth is fast… so, go slow if you want to be fast.

Tip #5: It’s easier to learn something the right way than it is to unlearn the wrong way.

Tip #6: Aim small, miss small… anyone can get lucky and hit the side of a barn.

Tip #7: Keep going, even if you “mess up” a technique… An attacker is not going to give you a second chance. See Tip #3.

Tip #8: Pressure points don’t make the martial art you use, they make the martial art you use better.

Tip #9: Don’t just memorize a technique, learn the principles behind it.

Tip #10: Do not underestimate your opponent and do not overestimate you ability…

Tip #11: There is a big difference between confidence and cockiness… see Tip #10 to illustrate the latter.

Tip #12: Know what you abilities are… and just as importantly, what they are not.

Tip #13: The action is in the middle of a movement.

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