Friday, January 29, 2010

Time Between Seeing Movement and Reacting to That Movement

The other day a few of us were discussing our combat classes and how speed fits into everything. I think it is pretty obvious to everyone that the faster you are, the more likely you will be able to strike an opponent. I think it is also a given that your speed also allows for quick movement in blocking and avoidance of strikes toward you.

Have you ever considered, however, the time it takes for you to react to any action once you have recognized that action? Many of us have not ever truly thought this through. We all know that reaction time is important, but what does a faster reaction time do for you?

If your reaction time is fast enough, you can see a punch or a kick as it begins and move your body out of the way without having to provide a blocking force or receiving the blow directly. What if you were even fast enough with your reaction to actually succeed in an attack of your own prior to the completion of your opponent's initial action? There is very little that an opponent can do if you are able to strike them before they can reach you. Each one of your strikes can catch your opponent in a position in which the ability to defend is compromised. It is within these moments that you can take control of your situation.

The ability to react is a core component of our Nabard Combat System. This is why we are always including reaction training with our workouts. You may not have been directly aware of this, but we also work on our reactions in a total body manner. Without the ability to react with your entire body, you have a diminished ability to move and react before your opponent has completed their movement.

This concept of reaction is also core to our offensive attacks and movements within the Nabard Combat System. While your fellow students work on their ability to react to your movements, you must react to their reactions. That is why we are constantly working on the ability to change our attacks and movements as we shift between strikes and blocks.

This is all kind of circular huh? The ability to interchange, adapt, and react quicker than your opponent is critical for a Nabard Combat System student.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Pushing on a Rope Part 2

In response to a request for an example of "pushing someone's rope" I offer the following examples. While I am applying the "pushing a rope" saying to Nabard students, the same can be said for all parts of our lives.

Example 1: A Nabard student of at least few months has been exposed to numerous training techniques and intensities. This student progresses a little beyond their point of beginning (level of ability/fitness) and have plateaued. Although this student continues to attend classes, he or she begins to coast along without pushing further in their development. No matter how much effort fellow classmates put into helping the student along through encouragement and leadership, the student does not come to class mentally or physically prepared to engage at the needed level. These students also tend to be difficult to work with as they are indirectly being a detriment to those students that are working hard. Often these students do not push themselves in relation to speed, flexibility, or strength. Through their inaction or lack of effort they have resisted progression, and because everyone is a rope, they can't be pushed into it.

Example 2: A Nabard student of any length of time recognizes that there will always be something to learn and areas where improvement can be made. This student approaches classes with an understanding that they will work very hard, and will likely be exhausted when the class is over. For this student, training with others is focused on mutual growth and benefit, as well as the understanding that their actions will have an effect on others. These students typically do not need prodding or encouragement to work hard. While there is always need for direction and instruction, drive and enthusiasm is not needed from an outside source. These students allow themselves to be led, while acknowledging and working within their own abilities. These students are also the most faithful to attend class and have the better attitudes while working hard. The idea that they are not making headway in their own progression is troublesome and they therefore seek advice and leadership from others. These students tend to pull and tug the information and growth out of others. They are using their "rope" for what it is intended.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Pushing a Rope

There is this saying that I heard once that stuck with me. The saying is, "You can't push a rope!" I often think of this saying when I consider Nabard students and their progression. No matter how badly we may want for each student to succeed and grow, it ultimately comes down to their inner desire. Within this context, the student is the rope, and we can not push them. It just does not work. The only thing we can do is to keep offering support and guidance. Students should question themselves periodically and determine if they are working successfully and progressing, or if others have been trying to "push their rope".

Monday, January 4, 2010

One's Only Point of Reference is Oneself

Nabard is unlike many other martial arts in any number of ways. To me, however, one of the most important and obvious differences is our point of reference. Through points of reference one is afforded the ability to measure progress. Many martial arts schools offer programs that provide multiple mini-milestones that occur often through one's progress within that program. Belts, stripes, and sparring points are just such measurements which are common to all students within these types of settings. By earning a new belt, stripe, or scoring a point, one can easily measure oneself against another person. The point of reference in these cases are the belts, stripes, and points themselves.

Contrary to this approach is the Nabard way. As a student of Nabard, one quickly realizes that there are no quick points of reference in which progress is measured against others. Progress is measured by one's growth as compared to oneself from the point of beginning. While there is always someone to look up to and see progression within Nabard, each student is a wholly unique and infinitely complex human being. Each student begins the Nabard journey at a different place as compared to others. There are some students who are naturally more flexible when they begin, or quicker with their hands and feet. Some students are also just able to put it all together more quickly than others. For these reasons, measuring oneself to others can give a false sense of accomplishment, as well as a false sense of failure. There is nothing more rewarding than awareness of true progression when comparing oneself at a current level of ability and fitness to previous abilities and levels of fitness.

Remember to review your progress within yourself. You will be surprised by how much you can and have accomplished.