Friday, March 19, 2010


I've been making a formal review of the basics by watching how they are done by the advanced players of various martial arts, including Taijiquan and Capoeira, which are two parts of the martial art I practice.

I have found some interesting things.
Masters have the basics down perfect, but basically nobody else does. I don't mean master as a formal title, but to note that often senior students are better at their advanced moves than their basics, this is highly unfortunate.

Many newer students can do some advanced moves, but they don't feel at home with the basics. Essentially the simple basic moves should be second nature, they should be effortless and reflexive.

Many students do not perfect their basic moves before moving on to advanced moves. To them the basics are too boring or simple to be worth it.

Let me share with you however that the most advanced moves in martial arts are all basic moves, what makes them advanced is the skill they are employed with.

Lets face it, you aren't going to learn the basics by working on the hard stuff. But honestly, the hard stuff comes with much less effort if the basics are mastered, and I mean mastered; first.

Don't do things with a sloppy feeling, thinking you will get better, often you will only build a bad habit that will not fix itself. If you approach the systems with patience and work on the basics and get them down, the rewards will speak for themselves.

The idea is that the basic moves are a foundation. The better your foundation, the better everything that is built on it is. The more time and work you put into this foundation, the stronger your structure is going to be in the end. However if you skip the foundation and work on the upper stories, then one day you will have to go back down to the basement and fix your foundation, because a strong game in Push Hands (San Shou) or in the Roda comes from having your basics down strong.

I am not even going to go into all that Ginga and Grasp sparrows 'tale' teach, needless to say all of the advanced skills flow from the conditioning of the basic foundations of Capoeira and Taijiquan. Still I am a beginner, so don't take my word for it, go ask your teacher. But if you like friendly contests without animosity, then please come and test your skill and provide me with a lesson.

Friendly Challenges are welcome from players with the same number of years of experience as I. I am a 3 year taijiquan student and a couple of months into Capoeira training.

I am also going to suggest that the skill of a person can be measured by how they perform the basics, and not just the advanced material. If you can't do the basics, then no amount of working harder moves is going to allow you to reach mastery of self or the art you practice.