After years of learning, practice and researching one truth stands out – you can never run away from the basics.
Basics can look simple, un-sexy, not worthy of our long term attention. However, in a well designed system you can never get enough of the basics because once past the initital stage of learning if you keep on working on the basics you should find that there is more to what you thought you knew or assumed.
Basics are like the pieces that make up a puzzle. You need to put them together to see the whole picture. You also need to fit them in the right place.
When you first learn the basics you are likely to keep stopping as you struggle to remember the sequence of movements. The more you practice, the more familiar you will be and the less likely you are to stop or hesitate.
After you can remember the movements and be able to do them without pausing you should continue to practice. Being able to do the movements without stopping is only the beginning. You still need to get the nitty gritty details down. This is the part in which you learn to express the distinctive flavor of the movements of the style.
This is also the part where you will discover that without the fine details you will struggle in your attempt to use the movements. At this point you should redouble your training efforts. Keep on pushing until you can bring forth the essential principles and attendant characteristics even as you move quickly amidst a blurry flow of movements.
Then reconcile the learning with the application. When you use the movements that’s when you are verifying if you are moving properly. Use and refine, use and refine.
In our SKD training the first double arm swinging exercise may seem that it has nothing to do with the 6-blocks but they do. If not, then we would have wasted our time learning the double arm swinging.
The initial 6-blocks sequence that we learn is just the beginning. Later we add another three movements until we can doing 9 movements. But we don’t call it 9-blocks because its just 6-blocks plus 3 add-on movements to handle unexpected responses that don’t fit the template of the 6-blocks.
When we can flow not just in sequence but out of sequence we should then try to implement the movements in partner training. Just let the arms move and see if you can keep your control of your space using the 6 blocks in whichever sequence that is appropriate to the attacks that your training partner is feeding you.
After this you can add the up or down swinging movement of the arm to follow up on your use of any of the 6-blocks. If you have been training your arm swinging properly you will find that you can move your arms like a whip, with speed and power.
This is an example of how we can acquire speed, power, change and flow even with a few months training as long as we are willing to put in the effort.
P.S. – we can actually accelerate our learning of the arm swings by picking up the first stick movement in iKali but that’s another story for another time.