Kampsport is an ancient discipline combining military, therapeutic, recreational and religious elements. It teaches us how to conquer life’s adversities, turning weaknesses into strengths and fears into courage. It also teaches us to respect ourselves and others as we grow through a series of incremental successes, which builds self-esteem.
Among the most common techniques in martial arts are kicks, punches, knee strikes and grappling. A good fighting stance is vital, as it provides the stability to deliver devastating blows, block strikes and evade an attack. To develop a proper fighting stance, stand with your feet about a foot apart. Then, imagine you are standing on the edge of a strip of painter’s tape running between your legs. Your lead leg should be forward, with your supporting leg behind it. Your feet should be pointed at a 45-degree angle.
Internal Martial Arts, like Tai Chi, require a lot of balance and sensitivity to develop power, speed, fluidity and synchronicity with your opponent. This style is usually practiced without a partner. This style helps students to develop a connection with their body and movement through a slow, controlled practice that focuses on internal energy.
External Martial Arts, such as kung fu, call for lots of strength and conditioning as force is used in explosive and powerful ways. This style is often practiced in a pair and can involve sparring and controlled drills.
Grappling is one of the most common combative techniques in the martial arts and involves locking an opponent’s arms or limbs to prevent them from moving. A student can use a variety of gripping techniques including armbars, chokeholds and throws to control an attacker.
In addition to physical skills, martial arts training teaches students to read an opponent’s movements and to assess the potential threat of a confrontation. For example, a student learns to watch for signs that an opponent is about to strike, such as a subtle weight shift or a change in focus in the eyes. These awareness skills can be transferred to real-world situations such as sizing up an unfriendly stranger on the street or assessing whether the person carrying a backpack or briefcase is a potential attacker.
A good martial artist will always be learning and refining their techniques. A key to success is practicing consistently and seeking out feedback from a partner or an instructor to help refine technique. The goal is to eventually achieve the level of mastery where you don’t even have to think about the movements, they just come naturally to you. To get to this point, it is recommended that you train in a mirror or with a training partner to see how your movements and form look. This will help you spot any errors and make improvements. Also, practicing a complete technique repeatedly will help you to develop muscle memory and improve the timing, speed, power and synchronization of your moves. As you become proficient in each component and drill, you can then start to integrate them to perform the complete technique.