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Mokomoko Invitational 2019 at Campbell Community Center

March 16, 2019 all day
I highly recommend this tournament in Northern California for those FMA/Karate/Shaolin guys out…See More
Mar 4

"You must know it like you know your name"

 One of my former math teacher's favorite saying was, "you must know it like you know your name..." It's funny the things that you never forget and it's also funny how something like a little saying can be applied to amost anything including the martial arts.

Whether what you're training is practical or not, if you train it enough, you'll get very good at it...  I often use this phrase with my students in order to get my point across to them about the importance of training away from class.

  But lets take this saying a little further and say, "You must know the movements like you know your name and then adapt accordingly... "  Okay that last part I borrowed from a famous Silat teacher who would often say, "you must accept, adapt, and act".  Never the less it's very true because no matter how proficient you become at techniques or drills, unless you can adapt to your opponents response, what you're doing is just not very practical.

  The other day during training I was demonstrating a combination of strikes and using one of my senior students as a demonstrator.  After a while my student would respond to my combination and counter with his own techniques.  Each time he countered I recountered in a different way according to what he did.  An onlooking student with a puzzled look said, "how can you dissolve these counter attacks so quickly and fluidly?"  I told him, "You must know the movements like you know your name and adapt accordingly".

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Comment by terry joven on March 13, 2013 at 10:14am

Good Stuff Sir!!!

Comment by Zach Jenkins on March 13, 2013 at 10:17am
Thanks Terry.
Comment by Josh Black on March 14, 2013 at 12:51pm

Very well written. Ive noticed that, in teaching my girlfriend martial arts, when we are running through lock and block, sometimes she gets a confused look on her face, and says "I dont know what to do"..... While she is saying this, she is shoulder blocking, roof blocking, and using her triangular footwork to maneuver. Her body knows the movements, and she is reacting to them (adapting) without even knowing it. Which, in the eyes of a first-time teacher and my first true student, is nice to see, and puts a smile on my face. 

Again, well written. :)

Comment by Nim Tabile on March 14, 2013 at 12:56pm

A well written piece.  Thanks :)

Comment by Alberto Della Rossa on March 14, 2013 at 2:05pm

Great words.

@Josh Black: A funny thing that's happened to me: I was walking to another room separated by a curtain. Without thinking I used footwork and a sinawali empty mano to slip throught :)

p.s. forgive me for my bad english :)

Comment by Josh Black on March 14, 2013 at 2:10pm

@alberto - hahaha. I do that ALL of the time. My friends, fam, and girlfriend always have to defend against my faux attacks. lol

Comment by MIchael Clark on March 14, 2013 at 4:09pm

Sometimes I hear the quote "knowledge is power"; that sounds good and may motivate certain school-age children to do their homework, but it is actually the application of knowledge that leads to power. You can "know" or memorize all of the patterns or drills that you want, but you must be able to apply those pre-set skills. Variation is important, and so is continually studying the "basic", whatever that means to you. Talk it, walk it and chalk it and make it your own. The only skills you can count on during a crisis are the ones you know like you know your name.

Comment by Zach Jenkins on March 15, 2013 at 8:13am

Josh I know what you mean, some of my steady students are now doing the same thing.  It's very satisfying to see your students become so knowlegable and skillful at what you've been teaching them.  I think back sometimes and try to remember when they knew nothing at all and the amazement on their faces at everything you showed them.  The amazement is still there at times especially when I increase the level of instruction or demonstrate things they've never seen before. In the style of FMA that I practice and teach, many things are taught in the midst of palakaw sparring such as attack by combination (ABC), attack by drawing (ABD), feinting, and disarming. In this way my students can see the techniques applied in actual combat as opposed to a drill or one step techniques. 

Comment by Josh Black on March 15, 2013 at 11:50am

I agree. Though, I focus on FMA and Wing Chun with her, Im also showing her, I guess what you would call my "art", which is just a combo of everything I have learned over the years, which works great, because it gives me a lot of tools to explain certain movements. Like, a student may not understand a double parry, but if I show the Lap Sao drills with Pa Da, they might get it... Or one of the millions of other ways to teach it. Idunno. Its just wonderful in general. 


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