Tag Archives: making karate work

A Better Way to Teach Martial Arts

Newsletter 933

A Different Method for Teaching Martial Arts

One thing I noticed,
Over the years,
Is that people like to make things harder.
In the beginning,
Mac was easy,
intuitive.
Tried a Mac lately?

Or,
How about a car?
Used to be you could take your car apart,
Fix any little problem,
And even the big problems.

You know how we used to work on Volkswagons? (Beetles)
We would drive the car over a couple of four by fours,
Let the air out of the tires,
Loosen four bolts,
And lift the car off the engine.
Try that with your new Lexus!

And,
The sad thing,
The same thing has happened to the martial arts.
They have become so difficult.
Memorize a couple of dozen routines,
Make a couple of hundred techniques work,
And so on.

But…
Here’s something interesting,
You hear it all the time,
But it’s still interesting…
You never use forms in combat.

And,
I should correct that…
You never use forms in combat…in modern times.
Back in the sixties and seventies we did.
Used the heck out of the forms.
Taught us incredible things.

So what happened?

People started making the forms difficult.
Instead of letting people just do the forms,
Until the forms taught the people,
Teachers started getting nit picky,
Explaining things that didn’t need explaining.
Foisting BS concepts.
Mixing pieces of different arts together,
Without understanding what either art was.
And so on.

Got real difficult,
You know?

But the mind doesn’t like difficult.
And,
Let’s face it,
A fight isn’t difficult.
You either trained in your basics,
And those basics are intuitive,
Or you didn’t,
And they aren’t.

In matrixing you make things logical,
And this makes things simple.

You don’t have to memorize techniques
you would never use in combat.
We use an entirely different method
For learning techniques
That WILL work in combat.
Here is how I teach.

Let’s say I give a person the matrix of blocks.
This is a handful of blocks that,
Through a simple trick of logic,
Becomes over 60 techniques.
The student starts working his way
Through the circle of blocks.
He reaches one which doesn’t work.
He comes over to me and says,
‘Al, this doesn’t work.’
I say,
‘Oh, you can’t make it work.’
They say,
‘No, it actually doesn’t work.’
So I say,
‘try changing which foot is forward.’
It doesn’t work.
‘Try changing the timing.’
It doesn’t work.
‘Try changing…’
It doesn’t work.
And so on.
Finally,
They throw up their hands.
They say,
‘I told you…it doesn’t work!’
I say,
‘Oh,
Why didn’t you say so!’
They blink,
Their eyes open,
Sometimes we get a little frustration popping out.
I say,
‘So,
Did you learn anything?’
And…they did.
They usually say ‘yes.’
If they say no,
I ask them,
‘Well, would you use it in a fight?’
‘No.’
‘Then I guess you learned something.’

Now,
You may think I’m being ridiculous,
But the Martial Arts are full of techniques
That people try to make work,
And they don’t work.
Yet people train and train,
Never actually coming to grips
With the fact that the technique doesn’t work.

Let me light this method of teaching up.

You get frustrated by your ‘smart’ phone.
You curse the thing for being dumb.
We’ve all been there.
But a child picks that phone up and programs it for you.
ARGH!
Makes it even worse, doesn’t it?

Now put that child in the cockpit of a stealth fighter.
You know what’s going to happen, don’t you?
Grin.
And that brat,
Making a super techno gimmick like that work,
Is all the more frustrating.
Repeat…
ARGH!

But the child has not been taught that doing something wrong is…wrong.
So he just makes his mistake,
corrects,
Never inputs society calling him stupid,
And flies the plane.

I don’t have to train him,
By using methods like the one I described earlier,
To accept his mistakes.
He’s already quite happy making mistakes!
And he is willing to learn from them.
Doesn’t have all that ‘grown up’ distraction stuff.
Heh.

So,
Let’s bring it home.
The martial arts are every bit as complicated
As flying a super stealth fighter jet.
The proof is that so few do it right.
They end up fighting,
And not handling the incoming missiles,
And downing the attacker,
In a simple, scientific manner.

Unless,
Of course,
They have embedded themselves with
A heaping helping of…
matrixing.

Guaranteed,
You have been infected by grown up things like…
‘YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG!’
How many times have you heard an instructor say,
‘No, no. Do it like this.’
‘No, no. Use your arm like this.’
No, no. Don’t kick in a situation like this!’
About a million times.
Even the best meaning instructor
infers,
implies,
Tells the student he is wrong.
And the student,
Having been educated in school,
Knows that he is wrong,
And somebody else is right.
His parents have told him he is wrong.
His teachers have told him that he is wrong.
Even his friends have told him that he is wrong.

You know how I teach?
Let’s say I see somebody eating a kick.
Trying the same wrong block over and over.
I don’t tell him why he is wrong.
I never tell a student he is wrong.
I simply say,
‘Move to the left.’
The student doesn’t.
I repeat,
‘Move to the left.’
The student doesn’t.
And,
After a few dozen times,
He finally moves to the left.
Kick slides by.
‘What are you going to do?’
Student looks blank.
‘Do it again.’
The kick slides by.
And,
eventually,
The student blinks,
Hooks the kick,
And body bumps the hip.
Opponent goes flying.
I never told the student what to do…
I never made him wrong,
Or tried to tell him what I would do.
I just gave a simple direction.
Move this way.
Move this way.
Never getting frustrated.
Never making him wrong.
Never lecturing him.
Just…
LETTING HIM DISCOVER THE TECHNIQUE!
I don’t teach,
I back off and let the student fall forward.
When he finally catches himself…
He has educated himself,
And he has learned how to educate himself,
And educating himself is going to get that much easier.
And my job gets easier and easier and…easier.

Okay,
I should wind it up here,
I’ve blatted your ear long enough.
If you want to jump out of the trip
Where people tel you you are wrong,
Then come on over to the matrixing trip.
Guaranteed.
It I fun.

The Circle of Blocks is in the ‘Matrix Karate’ course.
http://monstermartialarts.com/martial-arts/matrix-karate/

But if you think you’re smart,
And want to cut to the chase,
Try the Master Instructor Course.
http://monstermartialarts.com/martial-arts/4-master-instructor-course/

Now…
HAVE A GREAT WORK OUT!
Al

http://monstermartialarts.com/martial-arts/5-core-package/