Wednesday, February 6, 2008

stringing together techniques

For the last few years, the black belt tests in our Region have added an additional segment. After drilling basic techniques, candidates are pushed to the back of the room and asked to march up to the front creating their own combinations of techniques: kicking punching rolling, jump kicks, whatever they can come up with.

The first group of candidates starts the long march down the floor, followed by the next group, etc. Get to the front, run back and do it again until the panel is satisfied.

To be perfectly honest, this is one of my favorite portions of the test. Not only is it a good physical test, but mentally you are exhausted, trying to come up with new combinations. From time to time, people will "freeze" during this drill.

That's one of the main reasons I enjoy it: when your down and frustrated, what comes out? That's a much better test of a martial artist than a form you've doubtlessly rehearsed thousands of times leading up to the performance.

Here's my favorite part of this drill: this drill is YOUR chance, as a martial artist, to show the testing panel where you are in your training. You get to showcase your strengths, your interests and your unique way of making Tang Soo Do your own.

If you like to apply Tang Soo Do principles and concepts to in-close fighting, I hope to see that in your drill, expressed with foot stomps, knee and elbow strikes, head butts, backfists and reverse punches. Likewise, the kicker in the group will have an opportunity to demonstrate how to combine circular and linear kicks at different heights and distances.

I have started doing this as a drill in class so that everyone can figure out the best way for themselves. I especially like watching new students create their own combinations beyond what they've been shown.

From time to time, the students create combinations that I really like, and then I get to steal them for next class! :)
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