Last week we spent alot of time at our dojo working on being a good attacker and throwing real punches at our training partners. Although this doesn’t sound like it would be difficult, from beginning student to highest ranked practitioner, all had a difficult time with this. From my perspective they were all just going through the motions.
The problem was not a lack of trying, or of physical control, or even of lack of focus. It was a problem of goals. I’ll give you an example by asking you a question. If I was to call you up in a class to help demonstrate a technique with me as uke and asked you to hit me what would be your goal?
I asked this question as we were working this week and got; to hit you, to throw a jab, to throw a jab at you, to punch in, etc…
All of these are correct but not the goal. Because these comments didn’t get the proper attack I was looking for. Sometimes the attack wouldn’t be on target, sometimes it stopped as I moved out of the way, sometimes it tracked me because we were moving slowly for safety. All of this is partly because the attacker knows what we’re working on but most of it if from lack of a goal, which causes people to go through the motions.
When I attack for someone I obviously need to know what kind of punch (jab, cross, step through), and I need to know which hand and if it is a high or low punch but these are just details. My goal is to hit the person, I need to hit them in the first open target I see on their body, and that target should be the one that passes through to their spine in order to knock them away. It should be specific to what we are working on but it needs to match the situation.
If I’m the uke for someone and that first attack didn’t work I have to reaquire a new goal that meets the same criteria, it’s open and a pathway to their spine in order to knock them down or back and go after it. I’m not just going through the motions of throwing a punch I’m going after a goal and succeed or not I will evaluate the new situation, set a new goal, and go for it.
This idea isn’t just for punching or for that matter training. It’s about accomplishing what you want. So my final question is what else in your life are you just going through the motions?