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Elite Martial Arts

What is a Well-Rounded Martial Artist?

Posted: June 15, 2010

We often hear people speaking of being a “well-rounded martial artist”, but what does that really mean? The term means many different things to many different people. Of course, the person you are speaking to will always say that they are well-rounded. No-one ever says that they are one dimensional, even if they are.

So how do we determine what constitutes a well-rounded martial artist. First of all to be well rounded, we have to be able to deal with all the ranges of combat: kicking, punching, trapping, and grappling. (Some systems treat trapping as an element instead of a true range; but the important thing is that they address the trapping range/element.)

Any system that doesn’t spend time in all of these ranges is really missing the boat. I think it’s a pretty safe assumption that you not the best kicker, puncher, trapper, and grappler in your class. (Unless your class is extremely small, or you’re at a really bad school.) Each person has strengths and weaknesses and we must continually try to improve each element. If you think you’re a great puncher, and you come up against someone who is better than you in that range, what do you do? Do you crunch up into a little ball, lie down on the ground and cry, or do you switch to another range? The answer is pretty obvious, but if you have only practiced punching, then you don’t have a lot of options.


Technique Based Martial Arts vs. Principle Based Martial Arts

Posted: June 13, 2010

When I tell people that I teach a principle based martial art, they are often confused. They wonder what that means. Aren’t all martial arts principle based? Well, that all depends on how you teach it. Many martial arts schools aren’t even familiar with this terminology, as most are what we call “technique based”.

A technique based martial art is one in which the student is taught technique 1, technique 2, technique 3, and so on up the line. The teacher allows the students to collect techniques, but it is debatable as to whether or not the student will make those techniques his/her own.

The main difficulty with this type of instruction is that it is not very customizable. For instance, if I have been taught to always think in terms of techniques, and I teach my students in the same manner, the end result would be to make the student into a copy of myself.


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