There’s a saying in 7-Star Mantis Kung Fu: “always moving and changing direction in order to break your opponent’s guard.”
I like to apply this not only to my fighting but in my day-to-day life. I like the idea of always moving forward in all areas of life. How does one gauge self-improvement? Always moving forward to me can also mean not becoming stagnant or satisfied.
Could change yield the results you want? Or should you just work harder at what you already know? Maybe both? These are questions I have asked myself many times while trying to improve my own skills.
What is the one thing that stays the same?… The answer is CHANGE. Does your training improve your skills? Does it improve your sparring? Are you truly moving forward or are you going in the same direction and getting the same results? Teachers work hard “hiding repetition” for their students, but how many teachers do it for themselves in their own training? Having another coach to assist you or a training brother “keeping it real” can help you test yourself and your skills.
Acknowledge your weak areas whatever they are and build them up. Wether you are lacking strength, flexibility, striking skills, takedowns and defending takedowns or ground-fighting, whatever your weakness acknowledge it and start strengthening this area. This may mean getting out of your comfort zone and putting on another white belt and becoming a student all over again. After thirty years of training and 10 years of running my own school and teaching thousands of students, I put on a white belt in Hawaiian Kempo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Now I’m a black belt in Hawaiian Kempo and a brown belt in BJJ. I went on to begin training Bolt Wresting in my early 40’s.
It’s never too late to start martial arts or re-start your training. You owe it to yourself and if you’re a teacher you owe it to your students. Always try your best to be moving forward in life both mentally and physically. Stay balanced in your training, make sure you are complete as possible in striking, wrestling and ground. Enjoy the journey, never forget the love and passion you had when you first thought of training and how it felt when you first started training.
– Sifu Hughes