The Four Stages to Knowing a Technique


One of the keys to being a successful martial artist is unity of mind, spirit and body that presents itself in the form of a finely tuned and highly accurate technique. Well developed techniques don’t just happen. They are the result of careful training and repetition that happen in several stages.

Stage One: Understand the physical aspects and complete interpretation of the technique. What should it look like? How do you use various parts of your body, such as waist, hips, shoulders, to make the technique meet its highest potential? What part of the opponent is it meant to strike or twist? You should completely understand the applications of every martial technique you practice.

Stage Two: Repeat that technique or combination of techniques as many times as necessary to make it a virtual second nature movement – an action you are so comfortable with that it seems part of your natural movement. Enough repetitions of any technique eventually make it a reflex action. However, be careful that when you practice punches or kicks in the air you do not hyperextend your knee or elbow joints. This can cause joint damage, especially if done repetitively.

Stage Three: Practice your technique or combination against an inanimate object such as a heavy bag. The bag gives you resistance that mimics another person and lets you test your power and accuracy without running the risk of injuring a training partner. Working with a hanging bag also develops more power as you learn what it takes to fine tune your technique.

Stage Four: Now you have become familiar enough with your martial technique to practice with another person. This is where your technique becomes an appropriate reaction to your training partner’s techniques. Training with another person can be done with focus pads or in an sparring situation with both of you wearing protective gear. Sparring brings your technique into the realm of reality because now you have a target that moves and a target that can hit back.

By now, your technique should feel comfortable — as if it were with you much of your life. It’s not easy or quick to develop the full potential of a martial technique. However, it’s very rewarding once you have accomplished that feat.