Thursday, 1 December 2011

Throw Yourself Into It!

Roughly a year ago I had our adult students working on sliding kicks.

The technical aspect of what these are isn't really that important but just to provide some context, as the name implies sliding kicks involves performing a kick whilst sliding forwards towards the target. It's a way of covering distance dynamically to reach an out of range target while simultaneously attacking. It's faster than taking a separate step forward towards the target and then kicking. Plus, it can also result in a more powerful kick as the whole body weight is being thrust forwards with the kick.

Officially, sliding kicks occur in the Choi Kwang-Do curriculum at 2nd Degree Black Belt but this wasn't a Black Belt Class. In fact, there were only three black belts in the entire class of 16 that of them being me!

So why was I getting the students to do this?

The first reason was that it was a fun challenge for many, without straying too far outside of what they would normally be working on, eg. basic kicks with the target in a comfortable range whereby a slide is not required. However, the main lesson behind the lesson (if you see what I mean) was that to perform a sliding kick you have to throw yourself into it.

Physically speaking, you really do have you launch your body weight towards the target but in a controlled manner. If you don't, you simply won't cover the distance and reach the target. If you do, your balance (and subsequent power) will be negatively affected. This is quite a radical change for most students because they would have been initially taught to kick from a stationary position without sliding.

Emotionally speaking there can be even more to learn. Once you have practised and realised the need to launch your body weight towards the target, you're less likely to hesitate when approaching similar techniques in the future.
You will have already demonstrated to yourself that to complete particular tasks, you sometimes have to overcome self-induced obstacles.

Of course, among the more junior students there was lots of hesitation at first. Perfectly natural given the circumstances, but that was that whole point; to enable the students to recognise when this is happening, when they may be deliberating over a task that has little or no damaging outcomes.

Make a decision.
Affirm commitment.
Throw yourself into it!

There are many areas of life whereby unless we make a commitment and throw ourselves into something, before starting we've already limited the experience we could potentially receive. A valuable and useful lesson for me, the students...and maybe for you too?

Jason Wright is a 5th Degree Black Belt and Master Instructor in the martial art Choi Kwang-Do. For further information on Choi Kwang-Do classes in Ealing, West London visit

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