You hit your martial arts class, you’re excited to learn new stuff, you’re excited to train, you’re excited to be there! What do most people find is the worst part of training? It’s being the person getting beaten up. I’ve always said the best part of martial arts is “my turn”. So, you do something to me, a throw, a grapple, a lock, a disarm. It sucks, it hurts, there’s things going on, if it’s done properly it’s probably exhausting … and then finally it’s “my turn”.
I’d like to shift the focus from that a little bit. When you go to a martial arts gym, your purpose is to help your partner, whoever you’re training with, become a better practitioner of what we do. So even though you’re there, and you’re doing your time, and you’re putting it in and you’re being a body, I want you to actively train for the entire time you’re there. The average martial arts class lasts about an hour. In that hour, you get maybe twenty minutes of training. You get ten minutes of warm up, and the other fifty minutes would be training, you’re doing it but there’s always other people’s turns.
I want you to become actively engaged when you’re being the attacker, or being the bad guy, or being the person who the moves are getting done to.
We have a thing here, when we teach our system of reality-based self defense – our moves tend to work better if the person’s actually attacking in the way people attack! What do I mean by that? When we do a knife drill, if the person is just sitting there thinking about doing their taxes in their head, and just trying to get through their set so it’s their turn, and they swing the knife in a big open way, not actually attacking a target, not actually moving towards the goal, just swinging for the fact of swinging, the moves tend to not work … because they were all designed for a person actively engaged in trying to hurt you.
What I want you to do is effectively double your training time. When you are throwing punches – aim those punches. Work on your snap! Even if you’re about to get thrown after, focus your negative time on getting better. If you’re using a knife, practice how you would use the knife, target, look for areas, become more aggressive, start getting into the head of the bad guy to increase your training, to understand if you can do it they can do it, and if they can counter it, you can counter it.
When you’re there, we definitely want you getting as much out of every single class as possible, so if half of it is just you not wanting to do it, not wanting to be thrown, not wanting to do whatever … every time you get thrown you should be working on your breakfalls. Every time you do anything, you should be doing the other side of the coin, you should be becoming better at everything. If I’m throwing a punch I become a better puncher, even if it’s not “my turn” for the drill. If I’m getting thrown I should work on my breakfalls. If I’m doing an attack with a weapon I should be using that weapon in the way that weapon was intended to be used, by attacking a target.
So to bring it all together, don’t waste any of your time! When you’re in the gym, whether you are the attacker or the defender, you should always be training!