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What is an Advanced Technique and how do we get there?

I hear people say they teach an advanced techniques, but what is it and how do you know it is  and it is not just an intermediate technique!  So lets take striking be it forehand or back hand, you are first taught to strike at general target area. Then you are taught to strike at specific target. This striking is done with fluid complete motion. Great so now you know how to hit something quickly and cleanly. So we have progressed from the most basic your teacher has slow you long range medium range and close range so you understand what it looks like, what I like term from Kung Fu Panda when the Sifu says now we have level zero!

Great, so now what? So you can hit and hurt your opponent, any little kid with stick can do that! That is basic! The next level is moving into intermediate and it should be to hit with accuracy and understand the target underneath it AKA why do you hit there! What is it you are trying to damage! Then  you should be moving to hitting with a full beat, half beat quarter beat strikes you should be able to hear the rhythm of the sticks and learn how to develop your striking power from there. This still intermediate methods using forehand and backhand liner strikes. Now you can go into curving and twirling strikes this still just intermediate methods. These should be practice slowly and cleanly at first.

Unfortunately many teachers flip or omit the topographical anatomy so you look good but have no idea why you do what you do. I feel this is poor teaching. Moving on you should be learning about footwork and how to move and why you move where you do. It has a purpose not just a dance! So at this intermediate point you can hit with accuracy with liner strikes and curving strikes, understand what the targets are and the why to hit there, you have your basic footwork down on how to hit and move. Now you move into hitting but not getting hit still is an intermediate skill that includes bobbing weaving elastic movement etc, stepping off and counter striking. You should be able to perform broken rhythm off of fluid rhythm now.

OK so now we move into Advance Techniques, these would be methods such as understanding the fighting geometry that occurs and how in effects the fighting method, learning to feel where you are with your stick and hands, learning to hear the rhythms of the fight, control not just ranges but also the zones of the body and be able control the flow of the fight and redirect it. You have been taught the concept and the mechanics behind the method and the stick is just an extension of your body! Then you should be working on Chi generation and transmission. Your stick can move so cleanly that fast os slow it hums like a tuning fork.Now you are learning Advanced Techniques. Everything should be getting clear and familiar to you and you know it like you know your name. When someone says it is just a stick, is it just stick is it a path of learning?

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Comment by MIchael Clark on November 3, 2013 at 4:19pm

Marc,

Thanks for the great post. I found several different concepts just from reading it that will indeed help me to become "advanced".

Mastery of any physical movement takes time. From what I've read other places the key is 10,000 hours of practice, or perhaps 10,000 repetitions of a particular movement. I started training in the martial arts 39 years ago. If I got one hour of training a day, that would be over 14,000 hours of training time. The problem is that I don't feel advanced. At least not very often.

Once in a while I'll surprise myself with a really fast strong knife throw that sticks deep and sounds like a gunshot..and most importantly doesn't hurt my shoulder. Sometimes I'll be going though a cyclical drill like sombrada and one of us will mess up a little and the drill just keeps flowing anyway. Occasionally my skills seem to be advanced to me. Most of the time it seems more like i am working hard just to keep up.

I make it a point not to confuse advanced with perfect. I am always working towards a more sophisticated progression of my martial arts. I drill to go from slow to smooth and then to fast. Bruce Francis often uses a quote from his Chinese martial arts teacher: "it may not be pretty, but it works" (or something along those lines). That's what I would call advanced. Something like "functionality in the face of terror"

One way to look at "advanced" it to take it out of the context of technique and follow the training outline that you have already posted. Learn the why, when, where and how of the individual techniques. That's is where I'm trying to catch up.

Comment by Marc Lawrence on November 3, 2013 at 5:16pm

It's not how long a person trains but how much they learned and replicate is important! You can one year training repeated 20 times and still looks like one year of skill. The true Mastery of something is not to look just like your teacher but understand their concepts and to make them your own. Can you break everything down you have been taught to its smallest component then re-assemble it into your own? That is the Mastery of a skill and knowledge you were taught!

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