Wednesday, February 6, 2013

It's all about technique

I saw this video featuring Michael Jai White on the subject of "telegraphing" quite some time ago, but here is the "extended version". It is certainly worth a watch:



I have posted this video because I often get skeptical looks from other martial artists when I raise the issue of telegraphing and other extraneous movement.

"Surely it doesn't make such a difference," they say (or, at least, they think - I can see the raised eyebrows, if nothing else). "Telegraphing might make a difference if the movement is huge. But some subtle shoulder lift or twitch that happens a microsecond before the punch? Are you telling me I need to be fussed about "refined" technique when my "rough and ready" does the job? Are you telling me that I am being "inefficient": that I can't do a little hip load before the punch - to give it "power"? You obviously haven't seen how fast I hit!"

Well here is my answer:

Yes, you should have refined and efficient (ie. direct and devoid of extraneous movement) technique. The above video shows you exactly why. We all need to eliminate tells, twitches, shakes and other uncontrolled movement in our technique. We should be striving for perfect control. We should be moving as directly and succinctly - ie. efficiently - as possible. While this is a goal that none of us will achieve, intelligent civilian defence methodology relies upon good technique - not simple brute strength and speed and not flashy, circuitous moves designed to "add power".

And even if you're as big as King Kong and as fast as Usain Bolt, you should be striving for this goal. Why? For the sake of gong fu - bettering your skill through diligent effort. This is why we call what we do martial art. It's not just about fighting, but even when it is, we need to have the best technique we can possibly have.

"Are you really telling me you can read my "unrefined" or "circuitous" movement - and that it will slow me down enough to make a difference? By the way, have I shown you how fast I hit?

Actually, yes to both.



I might not be Michael Jai White, but what he's doing in that video is standard in traditional martial arts schools. It isn't "magic" and it isn't "new". It's old hat.

And if you're still thinking that you can get away with "double hip" and "sine wave" when even the smallest, imperceptible shoulder twitch both gives you away and slows you down, then you've really missed the point.

Copyright © 2013 Dejan Djurdjevic