Class formats and styles

I’ve been doing martial arts for quite a few years.  Taken from when I first started, we’re looking at 18 years or so.  Total number of years though is significantly less – probably only about 7 -8 years.  It’s hard to tell – there’s a lot of gaps in between and right now; I’m practising / learning when I can but it’s not often.

Anyway, the point is I’ve been at this for a while.  I’ve probably gone to over two dozen schools, trained in (i.e. did more than 1 class) about 5.  I’ve seen a lot of teaching and training styles and I’ve practised everything from Ninjitsu to Tai Chi (both forms & martially) to Western Martial Arts.  So I have a wide range to draw from, though not necessarily depth.

And one thing I’ve realised – there’s no one ‘best’ style of teaching.  Setting aside the fact that different people learn differently (auditory, tactualy, repetitively or visually come to mind); the different ways I’ve been trained have worked well to improve me in different ways.

Form work has given me an amazing level of body awareness.  Doing Tai Chi forms at 1/10th of full-speed means that I have to pay attention to each muscle as I shift.  Every time I practise (properly); I feel and sense something different.  It’s one of the reasons I pick up motions much faster these days.

Unpaired drills help generate and set specific body mechanics I want to become innate.  Whether it’s punches or kicks, repeating them slowly and quickly makes them part of my body’s repertoire of ‘tricks’.

Paired drills adds an edge of realism and adaptation that unpaired drills just miss.  Speeding up; especially for blocking drills drills them into flinch response level territory.  One of my main flinch responses is ‘block’.  When I used to drill regularly, both our responses to everyday ‘fast moving object to body’ was block. Or in his case, catch (shuttlecocks being the main enemy).

Technical discussion has added a layer of understanding to what we do and why something works.  Often paired with drills to then drill in the correct actions.

Slow work starts putting our drills into a dynamic environment at a safe level.

Full speed duels (or 80% in unarmed)  has taught timing, distance and tactics in a dynamic environment.  Drills can help, but there’s nothing that replaces doing it against a resisting opponent.

I have to admit, the two areas I’d love to do more of are:

  • scenario driven drills (ambush, attacks from behind, weapon against unarmed, etc.)
  • group combat

Unfortunately, for both you need both the right group and the time to do it in; and often neither is as plentiful as I’d like.

First MMA Kickboxing Class

Quite a few years since I’ve done a lot of punching and kicking in a class.  Before I forget, things I found out that I learnt:

  • When punching / kicking continuously at a heavy bag / focus pads; wraps and gloves are good. If nothing more than to save the knuckles on your hands
  • I hit too much with the last couple of knuckles – right hand little finger knuckle skin came off
  • My left cross has a tendency to drift outwards and come in a circle instead of snapping right out.  Also, I’m way too lazy on both sides with putting a proper twist to my hips to generate power.
  • I fight southpaw naturally, though my lead hand is my right.
  • I throw way too many crosses as a start especially when I’m in southpaw
  • My right roundhouse though (from orthodox in particular) is very powerful.  My left roundhouse needs more work
  • Heck, kicks in general from orthodox / left need a lot more work
  • I need to work on shifting stances more often and more dynamically.  Time to do more research
  • I need to work combinations more, especially straights and body hook combinations.  Not as fluid as I’d like it to be.
  • Same with the front kick / switch / back leg roundhouse & forward plant roundhouse. (From orthodox, that’d be right front kick, right roundhouse after switch, plant with right foot forward and left roundhouse).
  • Don’t rush – plant my feet more before I throw a combination so each has power.  I’ll probably want to change that up a bit in a fight to throw both speed / power shots but it’s a good habit to make sure I’m throwing proper shots in drill.
  • Work on planting my foot better so I can throw a proper high roundhouse and pivoting all the way through.

Things I’m unsure I need to work on, have to consider:

  • Breathing out more harshly when I hit.  I do so normally, but not in the explosive manner these guys like.
  • Hands in muay-thai / boxer stance.  Shoulders raised, elbows in a lot more, hands at same height (or almost) and covering face much higher.

Other general observations:

  • Movement fluidity came back after a while
  • Same with combinations before I started flagging
  • Cardio isn’t as bad as I thought, didn’t have a huge amount of rest but I kept it up for nearly an hour and a half
  • I obviously didn’t kick things as much as I should – bruises all along my shin / top of my foot

Overall, good training.  Time to get back to it properly.


This is a short post.  I just wanted to get it out before I had to run off.  There seems to be three major forms of confrontations out there:

– Verbal

– Social (Monkey Dance)

– Ambush

In fact, you could say (and I know others do) the first two are the same.  Any verbal confrontation is part of the social confrontation.  As a man though, a monkey dance confrontation is very different from a verbal confrontation (e.g. a shouting match with my wife is not the same as one with a random dude in a bar).

Training in martial arts often seems to focus on part 2 – the social / monkey dance aspects.  You can, with good training be quite confident you can handle the violence stemming from a monkey dance (so long as it stays to 1 person at least).

Ambush training though, I just don’t see happening a lot. Which is a shame, though it obviously requires a lot different training. I’m reading a lot of Rory Miller’s work right now, and hopefully I’ll be able to find some people to work some of those drills with.  Especially the group / blind ambush tactics.

Atlas Shrugged Part II

Watched Atlas Shrugged Part II.  What a horrible, horrible book.

Sadly, the actors weren’t bad for the most part. I’m assuming that they just needed the paycheck – we’ve all done way too much for a paycheck.  The directing wasn’t horrible either, in fact the scriptwriting wasn’t bad.  So, as a movie adaptation; it wasn’t bad.  It was actually pretty okay.

Which means all the sins have to be left at the doorstep of the source material.

Continue reading Atlas Shrugged Part II

Author page and Blog for Tao Wong